Lolo Peak Fire: Firefighters preparing for burning operations - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Lolo Peak Fire: Firefighters preparing for burning operations

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Summary:  Fire activity moderated today due to cloud cover and smoke. This allowed for a seamless transition between the management teams and gave the new personnel a chance to survey the fire.
 
The fire continued to be most active in the One Horse Creek Valley. After keeping it in check for a week with retardant and water drops, the fire is now backing down this steep valley. Crews used hose lays and sprinkler systems to reinforce the hand line at the mouth of the drainage while helicopters continued to drop water on the fire to stall its movement.
 
Mop up continues along the northwest side of the fire along Elk Meadows Road just north of the border. Elsewhere on the fire, firefighters are pulling the hose and other equipment to be refurbished for use either in other areas of the fire or neighboring fires.
 
Meanwhile, because there are no evacuations in place, the 150 Montana National Guard personnel were released to either return to their home or help with efforts on the Rice Ridge Fire northeast of Seeley Lake, Montana.
 
Today's plan:  A red flag warning will be in effect starting at 1 p.m. today through 9 p.m. predicting a mixture of wet and dry thunderstorms with strong downburst winds that will be 30-45 mph along the ridges.
 
As the fire continues to back down into the One Horse Creek drainage, firefighters will monitor its movement. The south-facing slope is rocky, slowing the fire’s progress as it moves down the drainage a few miles west of the end of Tie Chute Lane. Firefighters have been expecting and preparing for the fire’s movement. If the fire’s pace picks up and moves east, burnout operations may be implemented if needed. Burnout operations allow the fire to progress in a slow, deliberate manner. At that point, smoke will be visible in Florence.
 
Today, firefighters will prepare areas for burning operations to eliminate the gaps between the already burned blocks created as a buffer along the primary control line south from One Horse Creek to Bass Creek. As the conditions allow, firefighters will conduct these smaller burnout operations in the upcoming days to create a larger buffer along the fire line in the event the fire tries to move east towards the valley.
 
Please do not stop along the highways to view fire activity. It creates a significant traffic hazard, impedes firefighter traffic, impacts the safety of firefighters and citizens, and increases the chances that the fire could escape control lines.

Courtesy Lolo National Forest

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