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Landslide concerns for several homes near Lolo Peak Fire scar

Rain helps Lolo Peak Fire, scars visible

The latest round of storms means a possible one-two punch from Mother Nature for people living near last year’s burn scars.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office knocked on the doors of about 10 homes Thursday to warn of potential for landslides.

The concerns are in Lolo near the Lolo Peak Fire burn scar, specifically up the Highway 12 corridor near Mormon Creek and John's Creek and also south of Lolo behind Trader Brothers and in the Maple Creek Watershed.

Emergency officials talked about the concern for landslides while the fire was still burning last year.

The problem is the fire burned so intensely in some areas, it makes the ground hydrophobic, meaning water runs right over it. Plus, much of the vegetation is gone, meaning less to hold the ground together.

If a large thunderstorm rolls through, bringing with it excess amounts of rain in a short period of time, it can cause the earth to move.

The National Weather Service and Lolo National Forest placed a temporary weather station in the area to monitor for severe storms.

Emergency officials anticipated making contact with homeowners in June but decided to move Thursday because of anticipated storm cells in that area.

Emergency workers say residents in the burned area should pay close attention to the storm systems moving through and also the hillsides above their homes. They also recommend signing up for Smart 911 in order to receive any warnings. If there are warnings made, they say it's best to get out of the way as landslides are extremely damaging and unpredictable.

There are also concerns on the Rice Ridge burn scar near Seeley Lake, but the impact would be mostly to U.S. Forest Service roads and trails.

Storm cells could also create flash flooding on smaller streams. Emergency officials say small waterways react rapidly and violently to excess precipitation when they’re full.

To see the full map of landslide concerns across western Montana click here.

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