A wildfire in the Lolo Pass area that led to an evacuation warning on Saturday night has grown to 12 acres, according to a U.S. Forest Service news release, and is in close proximity to another wildfire burning in Idaho.
The release said the Lolo Creek Fire was reported at 5:23 p.m. on Saturday. The fire is burning approximately 1.5 miles northwest of the Lolo Pass Visitor Center and one mile west of Highway 12, between mile markers 1 and 2.
The Missoula County Sheriff's Office issued an evacuation warning Saturday night that extends from the Idaho border to Lolo Hot Springs.
The release said anyone traveling along Highway 12 should not stop, and residents and visitors in the area should stay vigilant and be ready to leave immediately should an evacuation order be issued.
The fire is burning and spreading actively in heavy dead and downed timber, according to the release, with smoke visible from the Lolo Pass Visitor Center and Highway 12. There are ten personnel currently assigned to the fire.
Structures are not immediately threatened but could become threatened, depending on Sunday's fire activity, and crews are conducting structure protection assessments.
The release said further closures could become necessary that would include existing closures from the BM Hill Fire in Idaho, and area closures west and north of Highway 12.
The BM Hill Fire is burning on the Powell Ranger District of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests in Idaho, within two miles of the Lolo Creek Fire.
Fire crews are remaining vigilant for potential large growth from both fires due to predicted weather conditions.
“We are working in close coordination with the Powell Ranger District given the proximity of these two fires and the critical fire weather conditions that are predicted throughout the day,” stated Kate Jerman, Public Affairs Officer. “Existing forest road and trail closures are in place on the Missoula Ranger District and we are asking the public to avoid these areas.”
We will keep you updated as we get new information about the Lolo Creek Fire, including further road closures or evacuations.