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Lolo Peak fire at 48,300 acres - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Lolo Peak fire at 48,300 acres

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FLORENCE - The Lolo Peak fire burning in Missoula and Ravalli counties is at a little over 48,300 acres and 530 structures remain threatened by the blaze.

Fire managers report that an inversion hampered air operations over most of the fire on Tuesday. However, a helicopter was able to drop retardant to assist crews working on the ground on the west side of the fire where it had spotted over the primary containment line.

A hot spot was detected in Sweeney Creek drainage and the fire has progressed to the bottom of the slope but crews were successful overnight in completing a 120-acre burnout operation south of Sweeney Creek.

Burnout operations will begin on Wednesday in the area south of Bass Creek to help reduce the probability of high-intensity fire from impacting residences. Suppression repair work and structure assessments will continue elsewhere around the fire, according to fire officials.

Evacuation warnings remain in effect between Bass Creek Road and Hannaford Avenue as well as for Florence residents living west of Highway 93 from the north side of South Kootenai Road -- including Redtail Hawk Lane north to West County Line Road.

The earlier evacuation warnings issued over the weekend along Highway 12 west of Lolo between Bear Creek Road and Graves Creek Road west of Lolo also remain in effect.

A Red Cross evacuation center is set up at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located at 100 Middle Burnt Fork Road in Stevensville. The Ravalli County Emergency Operations Center is available at 406-375-6650 for questions regarding evacuations.

Fire information booths are staffed at the Farmer's State Bank and the Stevensville Super One parking lots.  Fire information is also available at the weigh station in Lolo at the corner of Highways 12 and 93.

There are 422 people to assigned to battle the lightning sparked blaze that remains 31% contained. .

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