UPDATE: 7:52 p.m. - July 30, 2022
ELMO - Lake County officials are reporting in a social media post that Montana Highway 28 will open once again to traffic at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The road had been closed between milepost 36.0 and milepost 46.7 due to activity from the Elmo 2 Fire. Some of the area evacuations were lifted earlier on Saturday.
The Polson Chamber of Commerce announced in a social media post that any evacuees still staying at the Red Cross shelter at Linderman School — or elsewhere in the Polson area — can receive a free pancake breakfast available on Sunday morning at Mission Valley Elks Club anytime between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m.
(third report: 3:33 p.m. - July 30, 2022)
ELMO - The Elmo 2 Fire which is burning four miles west of Elmo has scorched 7,000 acres and is 0% contained.
There are roughly 100 people assigned to battle the blaze that ignited on Friday evening in the Deep Draw area along Highway 28. The CSKT Division of Fire reports the blaze started in grass, and then worked its way into the timber north of Highway 28.
"The fire is consuming some thick standing and dead timber that has not seen fire in several decades," an update notes.
Fire managers note hot and dry conditions combined with gusty winds are expected to increase fire behavior. Heavy air tankers, Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT), and helicopters are being used to halt the spread of the fire to the north and west.
Highway 28 is closed to traffic. While the Chief Cliff Estates evacuation has been lifted, the homes to the south of Lake Mary Road remain in evacuation status. Meanwhile, The Lake County Office of Emergency Management is advising residents in the Black Lake and Lake Mary Ronan area should be prepared to evacuate if the Elmo 2 Fire shifts in that direction.
Additionally, drivers are being asked to be aware of existing hazards near the fire area including smoke and firefighter vehicles while driving on US Highway 93.
A Type II team has been ordered which will likely arrive on Sunday or Monday. While the Montana DNRC Wildfire Dashboard states the fire is human-caused, the CSKT Division of Fire update states the cause of the blaze is under investigation.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has evacuated and closed Big Arm and Lake Mary Ronan state parks due to the Elmo 2 Fire.
The power is off from Lakeside to Elmo. However, Mission Valley Power stated in a social media post on Saturday that they were in the process of restarting the Elmo substation.
The Montana Red Cross is operating a shelter for fire evacuees at Linderman School on Fourth Avenue East in Polson. Residents can also request services by calling 800-272-6668.
Red Cross officials told MTN News that 16 people used the shelter overnight on Friday.
(second report: 12:11 p.m. - July 30, 2022)
ELMO - The CSKT Division of Fire is reporting that the Elmo 2 Fire has grown to approximately 7,000 acres since breaking out Friday evening.
Evacuations have been lifted for residents along Montana Highway 28, according to a social media post from Lake County officials.
However, the Lake County Office of Emergency Management notes that residents will need to check in with law enforcement on their way back through.
Additionally, OEM notes that people in the Black Lake and Lake Mary Ronan area should be prepared to evacuate if the Elmo 2 Fire shifts in that direction.
The Montana Department of Transportation reports Highway 28 is still closed between milepost 36.0 and milepost 46.7 due to fire activity.
Road Closed on MT-28 from milepost 36.0 to 46.7 ... https://t.co/TB0JmQiqb0
— MDT Road Report (@mdtroadreport) July 30, 2022
Drivers along US Highway 93 should be aware of fire personnel in the area and are asked not to stop in the area.
Boaters should stay clear of the Elmo Bay area of Flathead Lake due to firefighting aircraft in the area.
The Red Cross reports that 16 people used an evacuation shelter set up at Linderman School in Polson on Friday night.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have evacuated and closed Big Arm and Lake Mary Ronan state parks due to the Elmo 2 Fire.
Mission Power Valley reports crews are working to restore power to the Elmo substation after it was shut off Friday evening due to the fire.
Watch: A helicopter dropping water in the Elmo 2 Fire on the morning of July 30, 2022:
- information from Mark Thorsell, Melissa Rafferty and Newsy's Maritsa Georgiou included in this report.
(first report: 8:16 p.m. - July 30, 2022)
ELMO - A wildfire that broke out in the Elmo area on Friday evening has grown to an estimated 4,000 acres.
The Montana DNRC Wildfire Dashboard lists the Elmo 2 fire as 0% contained.
According to the City of Polson Fire Department, the evacuation zone has been expanded to Lake Mary Ronan Road from mile marker 5 to US Highway 93.
Evacuations of several residences had previously been ordered in the Elmo area.
A section of Montana Highway 28 and Lake Mary Ronan Road remains closed due to the blaze.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks reports Big Arm and Lake Mary Ronan state parks have been evacuated and are closed until further notice.
A Red Cross shelter for fire evacuees was set up late Friday at Linderman School in Polson.
Lake County Sheriff Don Bell is asking boaters to avoid the Elmo Bay area where aircraft are gathering water to fight the blaze.
The Montana DNRC Wildfire Dashboard states the fire is human-caused.
The Polson Chamber of Commerce has announced free pancake breakfasts will be provided for evacuees who are staying at the Linderman Gym.
It should be noted that no donations or additional volunteers are needed at this time.