MISSOULA - The Missoula Rural Fire District (MFRD) responded to reports of a wildland fire in the Grant Creek area late Sunday evening.
After having some trouble locating the exact location, a homeowner called in saying the fire was on their property. The homeowner who reported that the fire was on their property, said the flames were heading towards the Gleneagle subdivision.
The Missoula Fire Department, MRFD and The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) all responded to the blaze. The fire burned a total of 4.3 acres and was contained in just one hour.
“You can hear the sirens going up to the road. Nobody knew exactly where it was at,” recalled Mike Cole.
The fire was skillfully put out by Missoula area firefighters before it got any bigger. Cole — a Grant Creek resident and Friends of Grant Creek fire expert — says it was 4.3 acres too close to home.
“They're [Grant Creek residents] already concerned we're getting into fire season now and all of a sudden, couple of weeks later we have our first one close by,” Cole told MTN News.
“Fire season is inevitable in Montana. Even in a cool wet year, we're going to have fires,” noted MRFD Battalion Chief Ron Lubke.
Lubke noted the long and wet spring made plants grow more, so with conditions getting hot and dry and now it creates the perfect firestorm.
“Picture a house plant where it starts out small you just have to water it a little bit but to keep it green as it grows, you have to water it more and more and now that we're not getting any rain, those grasses that have grown so big are drying out really fast because they're not getting any water,” Lubke told MTN News.
“All you have to do is you have to have the wrong fire start in the wrong weather conditions,” Cole noted. “This is not a four-acre fire -- except the very beginning of it.”
The cause of the fire is still being determined. There were no civilian or firefighter injuries and no structures were damaged.
The fire serves as a reminder that we are now in wildfire season so people should be cautious and respect the restrictions put in place by officials.
Lubke offers some wildfire preparation advice in the below video.