Wildfire near Libby continues burning amidst asbestos concerns

Posted at 8:31 PM, Jul 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-21 22:31:31-04

LIBBY – Crews are continuing to knock down the Highway 37 fire which is burning north of Libby.

The latest information for infrared cameras shows the fire is estimated the blaze to be roughly 46 acres.

It’s located four miles northwest of Libby along Montana Highway 37.

Firefighters from the US Forest Service and the Libby Volunteer Fire Department — along with other heavy equipment are on the scene fighting the fire. 

Multiple aircraft have been dropping water and fire retardant to slow the fire’s growth. 

Fire managers are concerned as the fire is burning 1½ miles from the former WR Grace vermiculite asbestos mine.

The US Forest Service is taking extra measures to ensure employee health and safety from potential asbestos exposure.

The extra measures include personal protective equipment for firefighters to protect against potential exposure to asbestos-contaminated dust and ash.

The Lincoln County Asbestos Resource Program is preparing to begin air sampling for airborne Libby Amphibole asbestos in case it becomes necessary.

Canoe Gulch Road, Kennedy Gulch Road and Alexander Creek Road on the  Kootenai National Forest are closed at this time.