Containment expected this week at Lolo Creek Complex


MISSOULA, Mont. - The Lolo Creek Complex took off August 18 and this Sunday, September 1, marks two weeks since fire crews reported to the blaze that threatened homes and property. Sunday evening we caught up with fire bosses who tell us the blaze is now 90 percent contained. Fire bosses tell us their goal this week is to mop up hot-spots and to put more distance between the blaze and the containment line; Sunday morning an infrared flight covered the area to detect any large heat sources that are near the fire line. Dave Schmitt, a public information officer with the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team, tells us a Type-3 incident team has taken over clean-up and with nearly 700 crew members still working the fire, they hope to get the blaze fully contained this week. "Any place that's too hot to the touch with our bare hands we will dig that up, pour water on it and mix that with dirt and make it so it's cold to our touch," says Schmitt. "Then we move onto the next hot-spot and continue to do that over and over until you have that actual buffer between the constructed line and the actual hot fire." Schmitt tells NBC Montana the blaze has been sitting at 10,902 acres for the past three days; he says with the current containment lines in they don't expect the fire will spread any further. Fire bosses want to remind folks traveling on U.S. Highway 12 that speeds are limited to 45 mph from milepost 20 to 32; stopping and parking alongside this portion of the highway is also prohibited. Managers tell NBC Montana even with the fire nearly contained people can expect to occasionally see smoke on the slopes. For more information about the Lolo Creek Complex or to talk to fire bosses you can call the Incident Command Post in Lolo at (406) 273-6831.