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Aug 22, 2013 6:15 PM by Daniel Erusha - MTN News

Lolo Creek Complex fire impacts local business

LOLO - Some Lolo businesses are taking a serious hit as the 9,500 acre Lolo Creek Complex fire keeps burning just west of town.

Bonnie Watson has had her Crazy Horse Consignment store on Highway 12 closed since Tuesday after she had to be evacuated from her home due to the blaze.

She says tourist season is peak sales time of the year. and the fire is heavily affecting her business.

"It's very exhausting not knowing if my house is going to burn, having lost income for three days you know its stressful and exhausting. She is one of the several businesses in Lolo have been suffering since the fire started.

Jim Fix owns Auto Fix on U.S. Highway 93 in town, says much of the business he gets during the summer is from tourists and campers. He told us there's been a nearly 80% drop in customers since the blaze ignited.

"We are not getting any service work or calls on the phone even I think people are just nervous or not sure what's going to happen. They don't know what they want to do, they are kind of on edge ready to leave or just not sure they want to spend money right now."

But across the street from Auto Fix, Florence coffee barista Samantha Harris says their business has jumped, with many firefighters and evacuees stopping by.

She also told us that customers have been donating money so that firefighters can get a free cup of Joe.

"We have a huge tab here so all the firefighters coffee is paid for. This has been really fun to tell them their coffee is free," Harris said, adding that the donations are up to $300.

Meanwhile, Watson says she is offering help to people with animals in the evacuation area while Auto Fix is offering to help people move larger objects with their trailer.

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