Missoula sees triple digits for third day; Elmo fire grows to 11,000 acres
ELMO - A wildfire near Elmo west of Flathead Lake grew to nearly 11,000 acres over the weekend, and Missoula logged its third consecutive day with 100-degree temperatures.
Much of western Montana remains under a heat or extreme heat advisory, and the National Weather Service issues a red-flag warning on Sunday, which extends into Monday.
West of Flathead Lake, the Elmo fire blew up under the weekend heat was 0% contained as of Sunday evening. The fire began on Friday and was reportedly human caused.
Some evacuations were lifted on Saturday and Highway 28 was reopened after having been closed. Big Arm State Park also reopened.
The fire danger level on the Flathead Indian Reservation and Lolo National Forest was hiked to "very high" on Friday. The rating plays well to fast-moving fires.
“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. “Small fires can quickly become large fires and can be difficult to control.”
While the fire continues its northerly spread, hot and dry conditions held their grip on much of western Montana. The temperature in Missoula hit 102 degrees on Friday, setting a new record for that day. It topped 100 on Saturday and hit 102 again on Sunday.
Monday's forecast calls for a high of 101 degrees.
Other regional temperatures included 104 degrees in Spokane, 102 in Thompson Falls, 105 in Libby and 97 degrees in Portland. In western Montana, the heat is forecast to subside starting Tuesday.