Missoula fire up Miller Creek grows from 12 to 40 acres overnight

Plant Creek fire south of Missoula. (U.S. Forest Service)

A fire burning south of Missoula up Miller Creek Road grew from 12 to 40 acres overnight, and fire crews expect active conditions as they head into the day.

The Plant Creek fire, reported at 2:24 p.m. on Monday, is burning 11 miles up Miller Creek on the Missoula Ranger District. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Crews from the Forest Service, the Monana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Missoula Fire and Missoula Rural responded to the initial call.

“This late-season wildfire is evidence that fires can still start and spread rapidly even in mid-October,” said Jen Hensiek of the Missoula District Ranger. “We thank our partners for the coordinated interagency response as we continue to suppress this fire.”

The fire is burning in grass, brush and timber, the Forest Service said Tuesday morning. The west flank of the fire is burning actively, and firefighters expect active fire behavior today.

The forecast calls for warm, dry and breezy conditions, though that’s expected to change to cooler, wet conditions later this week.

Forest Service crews today will focus on building a containment line around the eastern and southern flanks of the fire north of Miller Creek Road. Structures are located within one-quarter mile of the fire.

The structures are considered threatened, though no evacuations have been issued. Smoke may be visible from Missoula as the day heats.