Lolo Creek Complex fire

Year in Review
11:22 am
Tue December 31, 2013

News staff looks back on a busy year

Sen. Mike Phillips (D-Bozeman) quoting from the Montana Constitution in opposition to Republicans taking votes before recognizing a “call of the Senate” during the 2013 legislature
Dan Boyce

2013 began with a new governor and a new legislature - and wound down with a government shutdown. In-between there were headline-grabbing trials and home-destroying fires.

The MTPR news staff - Sally Mauk, Edward O'Brien, Dan Boyce and Katrin Frye - covered the issues and breaking news. In this feature, they take a look back at a year of drama and heartache, and political surprises.

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Evacuee Stories
2:20 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

Evacuees share stories – and lessons – from the Lolo Creek fire

Sleeman Gulch residents (l to r): Mark Johnson, Sally Cummins, Kirk Derby, Rob McDonough, Christine Wren, Karna Sundby, Ken Olsen
Credit Sally Mauk

Five homes have been lost in the Lolo Creek Complex fire but hundreds more were saved when firefighters managed to stop the fire's progress along Highway 12 and eastward toward Sleeman Gulch.

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NYC Firefighter
11:27 am
Mon August 26, 2013

From 9/11 to Lolo: NYC firefighter proud of his service

NYC Assistant Fire Chief Ron Spadafora and News Director Sally Mauk
Credit Thomas Kempton

Firefighters from around the country are helping fight the Lolo Creek Complex fire west of Lolo, and some, like New York City assistant fire chief Ron Spadafora are there to learn more about how fires are fought in the West.

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Fire Update
11:12 am
Sun August 25, 2013

BPA powerline a concern near Lolo Creek fire

Putting out hot spots along Highway 12
Credit Sally Mauk

Firefighters on the ground and from the air continue to wage what they're calling "a slugfest" on the north edge of the Lolo Creek Complex fire.

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Poncin fire update
3:09 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

If progress continues, evacuees of the Lolo fire might get to go home sometime this weekend

Fire incident commander Greg Poncin
Credit Sally Mauk

Lolo Creek Complex fire incident commander Greg Poncin says crews are making excellent progress and if that continues over the next 24 hours, Highway 12 may reopen and evacuees may be allowed to return home - but not before tomorrow at the earliest.

In an extensive interview this afternoon with News Director Sally Mauk, Poncin said up to a tenth of an inch of rain fell on parts of the fire early this morning, and crews have made great progress.

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Fire photos
9:30 am
Fri August 23, 2013

More images of the Lolo Creek fire's destruction - and the hardworking firefighters

Brick patio and chimneys all that are left of Mike Amidi's home along Highway 12
Sally Mauk

Cooler temperatures and some rain showers (!)  are helping firefighters corral the Lolo Creek Complex fire, which was 30 percent contained as of this morning. Over 650 firefighters from around the country are now working the fire that has destroyed five homes, displaced hundreds of residents, and closed Highway 12 from Lolo to Graves Creek. Here are some of the images of the fire's destruction, and the firefighters working hard to keep it from doing more.....

Fire officials
10:27 am
Thu August 22, 2013

The people in charge of the Lolo Creek fire

Incident commander Greg Poncin briefing Senator Tester and Governor Bullock
Sally Mauk

The Type One Incident Command team now in charge of the Lolo Creek Complex fire are the best in the business - assigned to only the top priority fires in the country. Yesterday they briefed Governor Steve Bullock and Senator Jon Tester on their plan of attack, which includes contingency plans for burnouts if the fire continues its push toward homes in Sleeman Gulch and the town of Lolo. They're hoping the weather - and heavy retardant drops on the eastern flank of the fire - will make those burnouts unnecessary.

Fire Update
11:50 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Another challenging day on the Lolo Creek Complex fire

Lolo Creek Complex fire blowing up Tuesday evening
Sally Mauk

The Lolo Creek Complex fire took another explosive run Tuesday evening, growing to 8000 acres and within two and a half miles of Sleeman Creek. Dozens of residents remain evacuated, and a Type One Incident Command team took over management of the fire today. Greg Poncin is the team's leader. He says the forecast of more hot, dry temperatures and afternoon winds makes the next two to three days a critical period and "a hard-fought battle" ahead for firefighters.