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Fires near Lolo Pass continue to creep; evac warnings remain in place

The Missoula County Sheriff’s Office on Monday maintained an evacuation warning from Lolo Pass to Cloudburst Creek, citing concerns over an easterly moving fire.

The Lolo Pass Visitor Center and nearby campgrounds are also closed.

The Granite Pass Complex of fires, now several weeks old, has growth to more than 3,700 acres and is only 3% contained. While the blaze remains small, it’s proximity to Lolo Pass and Highway 12 remain a concern.

The continued hot and dry weather, with little humidity, continues to fuel fire activity.

“Very warm and dry conditions remain across the Granite Pass Complex today. Resources will continue to focus holding the BM Hill fire from crossing Highway 12,” a fire information officer said Monday. “Holding fire along the Highway will not only minimize impacts to travel and commerce but will allow for time to begin implementing an indirect strategy on the BM Hill fire, Lolo Creek, Shotgun, and Boulder fire.”

A 45 MPH speed limit is in effect from Spring Gulch Road to Lolo Pass due to heavy traffic from fire crews. The sheriff’s office also has issued an evacuation warning from Lolo Pass to Cloudburst Creek.

Deputies are notifying residents and visitors along Highway 12 of the warning.

“Wildfires burning in the Highway 12 area are moving down the highway corridor with potential to impact private property, homes and roads,” the department said in a Facebook statement. “Resident’s in this area should be prepared to evacuate immediately if an evacuation order issued.”