UPDATE: JULY 22 AT 12:02 P.M.

The combined fire acreage of the fires a part of the Granite Pass Complex is now at 2,375 acres, up 267 acres, with 0% percent containment.

An update from the U.S. Forest Service Thursday morning says fire behavior is expected to increase Thursday as a dry cold front moves across western Montana.

Actions are planned to utilize roads and natural features to confine all fires on the complex within one control line.

Crews will improve direct and indirect fire line along the south flank of the Lolo Creek Fire and focus on holding the Lolo Creek Fire from crossing Highway 12 to minimize impacts to residential, commercial and recreational travel.

The following are the fires burning in the Granite Pass Complex:

BM Hill Fire:1,874 acres. 0% contained. Will continue to move NE in Granite Creek.

Shotgun Fire: 198 acres. 0% contained. Will continue to move N into Boulder Creek.

Lolo Creek: 162 acres. 0% contained. Has the possibility of impacting HWY 12 if fire behavior increases.

Boulder Creek: 7 acres. 0% contained.


UPDATE: JULY 20 AT 3:10 P.M.

The area from Martin Creek (Mile Marker 10) on U.S. Highway 12 to the Idaho Boarder (Mile Marker 0) are under an Evacuation Warning, according to the Missoula County Sheriff's Office.
 
Wildfires burning in the area are reportedly moving down the Highway 12 corridor with potential to impact private property, homes and roads.
 
The following areas are affected by the warning:
 
Granite and Lolo Hot Springs, homes along, and accessed off, Highway 12 from Mile Marker 10 to the Idaho Boarder.
 
Residents in this area should be prepared to evacuate immediately if an Evacuation Order is issued.

UPDATE: JULY 17 AT 12:38 P.M.

Starting Sunday, July 18, a Type 2 Incident Management Team will take command of the Granite Pass Complex.

The U.S. Forest Service said in an update that the incoming Incident Management Team will add capacity and expertise to existing resources and suppression operations.

Firefighting resources continued structure protection measures Friday at Lee Creek Campground, Lolo Hot Springs, Granite Hot Springs, Lolo Pass Visitor Center, and elsewhere in Lolo National Forest, including the SNOTEL station at Lolo Pass.

For public safety, the speed limit on Highway 12 has been reduced to 45-miles-per-hour from Spring Gulch to the top of the pass.

Acreage growth for the individual fires within the complex is pending new infrared surveys, however, the total acreage of the fire is 1,635.


UPDATE: JULY 16 AT 12:30 P.M.

The Boulder Creek Fire is now joined with the Granite Pass Complex located northwest of the Shotgun Fire on the Powell Ranger District of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

U.S. Forest Service said in a release the Boulder Creek Fire has been smoldering for the last week and has created enough smoke and heat to be considered a wildfire.

Thursday, firefighters finished wrapping high-priority infrastructure and recreation sites Thursday.

Wrapping is when a fire-protective shield over valuable infrastructure to defend them against embers, heat and possible flames. Crews will resume structure protection Friday. 

BM HILL FIRE

The BM Hill Fire is currently covering an estimated 1,270 acres 10 miles north of Powell Junction. It is now burning in the Missoula Ranger District of the Lolo National Forest.

Fire behavior includes creeping and some group torching. The U.S. Forest Service said the BM Hill Fire is expected to meld with the Lolo Creek Fire in the days ahead.

LOLO CREEK FIRE

The Lolo Creek Fire is burning an estimated 119 acres 1.5 miles northwest from the Lolo Pass Visitor Center in the Lolo National Forest. The fire is still actively burning and is expected to meld with the BM Hill Fire. Crews laid down hose and sprinklers to defend structures at Lolo Hot Springs.

SHOTGUN FIRE

The Shotgun Fire is burning 140 acres, located seven miles north of Powell Junction on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. It is located in heavy dead and downed timber in steep terrain.  The U.S. Forest Service said firefighters are weighing the suppression options. 

BOULDER CREEK FIRE

The Boulder Creek Fire is covering 3-acres 8-miles west of Lolo Pass Visitor Center and is burning on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. firefighters are weighing the suppression options. 


UPDATE: JULY 15 AT 12:25 P.M.

Firefighters are standing by for possible active fire behavior in the Granite Pass Complex amid the Red Flag warning which is set to expire Thursday evening.

According to a release from the U.S. Forest Service, firefighters are still working on setting up point protection around structures and recreation infrastructure and another Type 2 hand crew will come and assist with that project. A helicopter is on stand by to drop water and check fire growth once conditions allow. Crews will try to secure the fire west of Highway 12 once it is safe.

Managers are still in the process of placing a larger area closure of Lolo National Forest lands in effect Tuesday according to an update on the Granite Pass Complex.

BM HILL FIRE

The BM Hill Fire is currently covering an estimated 1,188 acres 10 miles north of Powell Junction. The fire is now in both Idaho and Montana located northwest of Highway 12. Fire behavior includes creeping and some group torching. The U.S. Forest Service said the BM Hill Fire is expected to meld with the Lolo Creek Fire in the days ahead.

LOLO CREEK FIRE

The Lolo Creek Fire is burning an estimated 112 acres 1.5 miles northwest from the Lolo Pass Visitor Center in the Lolo National Forest. The fire is still actively burning and is expected to meld with the BM Hill Fire. Crews laid down hose and sprinklers to protect structures from the fire Wednesday.

SHOTGUN FIRE

The Shotgun Fire is burning 134 acres, located seven miles north of Powell Junction on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. The fire is in heavy dead and downed timber in steep terrain. The U.S. Forest Service said firefighters are weighing the suppression options.

The U.S. Forest Service reminds the importance of taking sole responsibility to decrease flammable object around homes and communities before a fire happens. Laying down protective barriers between homes, trees, shrubs or other outdoor areas is key to boosting a home's chance of surviving a fire. In addition to helping contain the fire, it also gives firefighters a safety zone to protect homes if possible.


Update, July 13 at 12:41 pm:

Managers are in the process of placing a larger area closure of Lolo National Forest lands in effect Tuesday according to an update on the Granite Pass Complex.

A detailed closure map and closure are forthcoming. The following from the U.S. Forest Service regarding the closures:

All forest lands south and southwest of the Howard Creek Road Junction with Highway 12 to the Lolo Pass Visitor Center will be closed including East Fork Lolo Road #461, Lee Creek Road #699, Granite Creek Road #9942, and the southern portion of the Fish Creek Road #343 starting at mile marker 23.8 (Oriole Junction) to Highway 12. Access to Fish Creek is still open from I-90 to mile Marker 23.

There was no significant fire growth compared to previous days, however, the fire behavior on the Granite Pass Complex remains active as it burns steadily through heavy dead and downed timber in challenging terrain.

Firefighter resources are focusing efforts Tuesday on completing structure protection and preparation in the Lolo Hot Springs and Granite Hot Springs area.

An update on the BM Hill Fire says it is about 987 acres large and is now burning on the Missoula Ranger District/Lolo National Forest.

Fire behavior continues to be active with single and group tree torching, producing spot fires up to a quarter-mile in front of the main fire front.

In the coming days, the BM Hill Fire is expected to merge with the Lolo Creek Fire.

The Lolo Creek Fire is reported to be 72 acres large and reportedly continues to burn actively.

The Shotgun Fire is 72 acres large and is burning in heavy dead and downed timber in steep terrain. Firefighters are assessing suppression options for the fire.


MISSOULA, Mont. - The Lolo Creek Fire on the Missoula Ranger District in Montana as well as the BM Hill and Shotgun Fires on the Powell Ranger District in Idaho are now being managed under the Granite Pass Complex, Type 3 Incident Command.

The U.S. Forest Service says managing the fires under one incident commander improves efficiency and simplifies the incident management process.

At this time, the fires are being managed under a full suppression strategy and have been prioritized by the values at risk.

In the coming days, the BM Hill Fire and the Lolo Creek Fire are expected to merge into one fire.

On Sunday, the BM Hill Fire, which is burning on the Lolo National Forest northwest of Highway 12, grew “substantially” toward the north and east the U.S. Forest Service reports in an update.

Fire behavior included short-sustained crown runs, single and group tree torching producing spot fires up to a quarter of a mile in front of the main fire front.

The Shotgun Fire, located seven miles north of the Junction and is about 50 acres large, is burning in heavy dead and downed timber in steep terrain. As of Monday morning, firefighters are assessing suppression options for the fire.

Limited firefighter resources are focusing their efforts on are completing structure protection and preparation in the Lolo Hot Springs and Granite Hot Springs area.

An Evacuation Warning was issued by the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office from the Idaho Border to Lolo Hot Springs.

Efforts include removing or clearing vegetation, creating small fuel breaks around structures, and removing woodpiles and other flammable material away from structures when possible.

The following are closures due to the fires according to the U.S. Forest Service:

Missoula Ranger District

CLOSED CAMPGROUNDS:

  • The Lee Creek Campground has been closed to support fire operations.

CLOSED ROADS

  • Granite Creek Road #9942 is closed at milepost 1.9 at junction with North Road #4209 to its junction with road #595.
  • Granite Creek Road #4200 is closed from milepost 0.9 at the gate to its end.

CLOSED TRAILS

  • Granite Ridge Trail #289 is closed from milepost 0.00 at junction road #4200 to the end.
  • State Line Trail #46 is closed from junction with trail #1314 to the junction with road 9942.

Powell Ranger District

VISITOR CENTER:

  • The Lolo Pass Visitor Center is currently closed due to fire activity.

CLOSED ROADS:

  • Granite Pass FSR # 595 – Closed in its entirety.

Travel Information: Motorists on U.S. Highway 12 are urged to use caution while traveling this route due to changing fire conditions. Please do not stop to take photos. For the most current travel information visit Montana Department of Transportation or Idaho Department of Transportation.

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