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  • Crews responding to wildfire near Rock Creek

    Published On: Aug 02 2015 02:43:38 PM MDT   Updated On: Aug 02 2015 05:57:45 PM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    On Sunday afternoon fire crews responded to a wildfire burning near Rock Creek, roughly 25 miles east of Missoula. The fire burnt roughly 5 acres on the south side of I-90, near the Beavertail exit.

    Responders included Clinton Rural Fire, Missoula Rural Fire, Montana Highway Patrol, and the Missoula County Sheriff's Office. Crews shut down one Eastbound lane of Interstate 90 during the firefighting efforts. By roughly 3:00, the fire was reported as "under control."

    The fire danger is extreme in Missoula County, and fire officials say the blaze could have been started by a flipped cigarette or dragging chains. The exact cause of the blaze remains under investigation. Fire officials are urging folks to practice caution in these dry, breezy conditions.

    "If there's a small fire, it makes that fire spread so much faster," said Clinton Rural Assistant Fire Chief Justin Farrington.

    No structures were threatened, although fire officials say some power lines were burnt.

  • Darby crash victim identified

    Published On: Aug 02 2015 01:29:27 PM MDT   Updated On: Aug 02 2015 01:29:55 PM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    The Ravalli County Sheriff's Office identified the victim of a fatal crash south of Darby as 24-year-old Michael Alan Newill of Missoula

    Sheriff Chris Hoffman said Newill was one of four occupants involved in a single-vehicle rollover on Highway 93, south of the Conner Cutoff, near milepost 21.

    The accident occurred on Thursday, July 30th, shortly before 11:00 a.m.

    Investigators said the other 3 occupants were either in their late teens or 20's and were western Montana residents. All three were hospitalized.

    The Montana Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.

  • Alcohol possible factor in crash near Darby

    Published On: Aug 01 2015 03:03:39 PM MDT   Updated On: Aug 01 2015 06:41:00 PM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    State troopers said alcohol may have been a factor in a violent collision Saturday afternoon near Darby.

    The crash was reported around 2:30 p.m. on Highway 93 just north of Darby.

    Troopers said a 2004 Chevy pickup heading south crossed the center line and struck the side of a motor home heading north towards Hamilton.

    The motor home was pushed off the road and rolled, troopers said.

    Both occupants, a couple in their 60's from Hamilton, were wearing seat belts and suffered minor injuries, troopers said.

    The 34-year-old male driver of the pickup sustained a broken femur and was transported to the hospital.

    Troopers said they were awaiting blood work from the driver to determine if he was under the influence.

  • Air tankers, helicopters respond to wildfire near Arlee

    Published On: Aug 02 2015 08:06:54 PM MDT   Updated On: Aug 02 2015 09:51:27 PM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    Fire crews responded to a wildfire in Lake County, south of Arlee on Sunday evening.

    The 10 to 15 acre fire was located just west of South Couture Loop.

    CSKT fire investigator Devlin Lafrombois said the fire was reported around 5 p.m., and was sparked by a downed power line.

    Witnesses said several helicopters made water drops, and 2 air tankers dropped fire retardant.

    Heavy equipment was dispatched to fire lines, Lafrombois said.

    Several power lines were threatened but are no longer in danger.

    No structures were threatened.

    A 20-man crew will remain on scene to do mop up work.

    The fire drew some onlookers, including some folks who live in the area. One resident told NBC Montana that the fire isn't surprising given the dry conditions.

    "We've been fortunate so far, not to have anything major," said Arlee-area resident Steve Petrey.

  • Reynolds Creek Fire crews debunk wildfire myths

    Published On: Jul 31 2015 03:42:52 PM MDT   Updated On: Jul 31 2015 10:57:38 PM MDT
    ST. MARY, Mont. -

    Reggie Day traveled from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, to Glacier National Park for the first time this month. The operations section chief is one of 604 personnel still working to suppress the Reynolds Creek Fire.

    “Having (the fire) in a park, where this is the tourist season, we know that we want to get this done as quickly as we can,” said Day, “so that we can open this back up for the people that come from all over the place to see this.”

    While the Going-to-the-Sun Road is still closed from the St. Mary Campground to Logan Pass, NBC Montana was able to take a first-hand look at the fire area.

    Day debunked a few wildfire myths when we met him at Rising Sun. The fire is currently 63 percent contained -- and some think that number will continue to increase at a steady rate.

    The Idaho resident explained that the figure may not increase much more until after the end of summer.

    “We are making a lot of great progress,” said Day. “But as you can see, those green islands -- there is going to be fire and smoke within this burn area all summer long, until Mother Nature puts her out late this fall or this winter.”

    The fire is spotty, and certain areas feature steep terrain that poses too great a threat to fire crews.

    Crews are still working to restore east-side access to Glacier National Park as soon as possible. Fire officials emphasize certain areas have been scorched by the blaze.

    In other sections -- even within the fire area -- one wouldn’t even know there was an incident. The exterior of the Rising Sun Motor Inn, for example, is intact although smoke clouds drift into the air within view of the structure.

    Day attributes the progress personnel have made to his crews.

    “To-date we’ve had zero injuries on this incident,” he said. “And with the steepness of the ground (and) the distance of travel, that’s a huge, huge accomplishment. (Firefighters) are really being cognizant of what they’re doing, where they’re at and how they’re doing.”

    In Glacier National Park, fire crews are on high alert due to dangerous fire weather. They’re expecting strong winds and low humidity.

    The Reynolds Creek Fire is burning six miles east of Logan Pass. Crews focused on building line along the fire’s northeast corner Friday.

  • First Alert Weather: Triple digit heat on Sunday

    Published On: Aug 01 2015 09:32:51 PM MDT

    Hot temperatures and fire weather conditions will crop up again Sunday afternoon.

  • First Alert Weather: Chance for thunder Monday afternoon

    Published On: Aug 02 2015 05:55:50 PM MDT

    After a smoky morning, thunderstorms will be back into the forecast late Monday.