The Lolo Creek Fire that was reported late Saturday afternoon has resulted in an Evacuation Warning from Lolo Hot Springs to the Idaho Border along Highway 12.

Fire Information Officer Kate Jerman provided details to KGVO on Sunday afternoon messaging the residents in the area.

“We're asking them to remain vigilant and prepared,” said Jerman. The Missoula County Sheriff's Office did issue an evacuation warning, so we're asking them to tune in to the Missoula County Sheriff's Office Facebook page and stay connected there for the most recent updates on that.”

To make matters worse for firefighters, a Red Flag Warning has also been issued for the area later this evening.

“We are in a Red Flag Warning today, which means we have the potential for some gusty wind conditions,” she said. “Obviously we've been hot and dry for a while, so the potential for increased fire activity and fire growth is high today. And that's really what we're trying to prepare folks for. And that's really what our firefighters are looking out for.”

German described how the fire got started.

“Last night (Saturday) at around 5:23pm we had a smoke report up Lolo Pass up the Highway 12 corridor, and we had a confirmed fire which is still burning actively and heavy timber and in downed timber,” she said. “It's about a mile and a half northwest of the Lolo Pass Visitor Center and about a half mile off the highway to the west of the highway, so it's highly visible. It's producing a lot of smoke, and, you know, we're asking folks to try and avoid that area right now.”

In Missoula, the smoke has been very thick throughout the valley all day. Jerman said with so many fires burning in Idaho right now, these new fires are causing the smoke to pour into the Missoula valley.

“I would make a safe assumption that (the smoke) is from a lot of different fires burning in the area both on the Lolo National Forest and over in Idaho,” she said. “As I mentioned before, there's a lot of activity going on right now in terms of fire in western Montana. And that's likely where the smoke is coming from.”

Sarah Coefield, Air Quality Specialist for the Missoula City County Health Department issued a report on Sunday stating the air quality is currently rated as Unhealthy in Frenchtown and Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups in Missoula and in Seeley Lake.

Coefield will be our guest on Tuesday’s Talk Back show.

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