Fire explodes in size near Elmo; Missoula tops 100 for second day
ELMO - A wildfire near Elmo grew to an estimated 7,000 acres on Saturday west of Flathead Lake, and Missoula recorded its second consecutive day with 100-degree temperatures and above.
Much of western Montana remains under a heat or extreme heat advisory. The temperature in Missoula hit 102 degrees on Friday, setting a new record for that day, and 101 on Saturday.
West of Flathead Lake, the Elmo fire grew to 7,000 acres under the day's heat and was 0% contained as of Saturday, according to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
Evacuations have been ordered in the area. The Polson Fire Department said the evacuation zone had been expanded to Lake Mary Ronan Road from US Highway 93 to mile marker 5.
A portion of state Highway 28 also remains closed due to the fire, and both Lake Mary Ronan and Big Arm State parks have been closed. Areas of the lake are now active with aircraft taking water to fight the blaze, and boaters are asked to aware.
The fire is reportedly human-caused.
The fire danger level on the Flathead Indian Reservation and Lolo National Forest was hiked to "very high" on Friday.
“This means fires can start easily, spread rapidly and have a quick increase in intensity right after ignition,” the National Weather Service office in Missoula said in a Tweet. “Small fires can quickly become large fires and can be difficult to control.”