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Entries in Lolo Peak Fire (4)


Forest Service plans to replant a portion of Lolo Peak Fire burn

Dennis Bragg photo (MISSOULA)- The Forest Service is going to move forward with plans to re-plant nearly 8-thousand acres of timberlands that burned in last summer's Lolo Peak Fire. 

The fire burned over 53,000 acres, after it was started by a mid-July lightning storm. The blaze burned for weeks, destroying two homes and eight outbuildings when it flared up along the Northern Bitterroot Mountain Front in early August. 

While much of the fire burned in the backcountry, and high elevation areas that limit access, there are portions of the burn which forest managers say could benefit from replanting. 

The Forest Service is proposing to clear out underbrush, remove dead and dying trees and plant native species like Ponderosa and Western Larch that are more fire resistant than Douglas Fir which made up much of the timber that burned so fiercely. 

Lolo National Forest is taking public comment on the replanting plans for the next month. 



Western Montana's "Big 3" fires close in on $100-million mark

The Lolo Peak Fire has been burning since being started by lightning in mid-July -Dennis Bragg photo (MISSOULA)- This is already one of the most expensive fire seasons on record in Montana. 

And Western Montana's "Big 3" fires are chewing through most of the money, with the combined total approaching $100-million. 

The latest report shows the Lolo Peak Fire's price tag just hit $30.8 million dollars. But the Sapphire Complex burning above Rock Creek and the Sunrise Fire near Superior aren't far behind, with both fires costing over $27-million dollars each. Those three fires have burned a combined total of just under 100,000 acres through Saturday night. 

The Meyers Fire in Granite County has cost $21.1-million to date. The Rice Ridge Fire, which continues to burn near Seeley Lake has passed the $20-million mark. 

Other fires that have cost more than $1-million dollars include the Liberty Fire southeast of Arlee, the Alice Creek and Arastra Fires near Lincoln, the Tamarack Fire, and the Blue Bay Fire on Flathead Lake. 


More evacuations ordered near Lolo Peak Fire 

Lolo Peak Fire Wednesday evening- USFS photo (FLORENCE)- The Ravalli County Sheriff's Office orders new evacuations near Florence, after the Lolo Peak Fire flares up again in windy weather. 

The new orders impact residents west of Florence Carlton Loop south to One Horse Creek Road and west of Highway 93 from One Horse to Sweeney Creek Loop. The orders came Wednesday evening as 40 mile per hour gusts raked across the southeast corner of the fire above Florence, creating what the sheriff's office called "dangerous fire behavior." 

Previous evacuations remained in place. 

More gusty winds are possible through this afternoon.


Montana air quality improves slightly 

(MISSOULA)- Residents of Missoula County and the northern Bitterroot continue to suffer with terrible air quality from all the fire smoke. 

DEQ reports air quality was "unhealthy" in Missoula and Frenchtown as well as Hamilton late Wednesday evening. And in Lolo, the air was even worse, reaching "hazardous" levels. 

However, by Thursday morning conditions had improved somewhat, with all those same areas reporting air was "unhealthy for sensitive groups."  

And forecasters aren't expecting any real long term relief, with more dry weather in the forecast after a chance of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon.