Crews guard houses from approaching flames


MISSOULA, Mont. - Highway 12 remains closed to traffic, but NBC Montana got a look behind the fire lines at the Lolo Creek Complex Thursday to see the damage caused by the fire.

About 8 miles up the highway is where one of the houses burned down Monday when the fire blew up.

Crews spent the Thursday watching the fire creep along the canyon, standing guard at several properties in case any of the flames spread made it down the canyon walls to homes.

Officials say one of the major concerns in the area is rolling debris.

Even though the homes along the highway are under evacuation notice, some people have chosen to stick it out.

If the Lolo Creek Complex were to make a big jump, as many as 1,200 houses could be at risk.

"More people were staying than were leaving in this area," said one resident at a house about 5 miles up Highway 12. "I feel a lot safer today than I did yesterday and the day before."

The Missoula County Sheriff's Department says evacuation notices for children are mandatory.