MISSOULA – A pair of out-of-control grass fires kept Missoula crews busy on Sunday afternoon.
The Missoula Rural Fire District was called to reports of a grass fire and power poles burning between Lolo and Florence at 2:50 p.m.
Battalion Chief Michael Bowman says MRFD and the Florence Volunteer Fire Department responded to the incident in the area of the 80 mile marker on US Highway 93 South.
A large plume of smoke was visible and units arriving on the scene reported several acres of grass were burning as well as power poles burning and a train trestle.
Bowman says fire crews were able to bring the eight-acre wind-driven fire within 25 minutes. A total of six engines and a water tender responded to the scene.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Then, shortly after 4:30 p.m., MRFD and the Frenchtown Rural Fire District were dispatched to reports of a structure fire reported in the area of Primrose Drive and Mullan Road, west of Missoula.
Bowman says that due to the fire south of Lolo, a Missoula City Fire Department was requested by MRFD for mutual aid.
Crews arrived to find a shed on fire and an actively burning grass fire threatening another outbuilding. Firefighters managed to put out the shed fire and bring the blaze under control in about 30 minutes.
Mullan Road was closed down as crews worked to fight the fire. Three engines, three water tenders, and a ladder truck responded to the scene.
Bowman says the blaze was sparked by a “permitted control burn that went uncontrolled due to windy conditions in the area.”
There were no injuries reported in either of Sunday’s incidents.
MRFD is reminding people that windy conditions are in the forecast and the next couple of days “will not be a suitable time to start a permitted burn."