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30 homes evacuated near Superior

By Associated Press
Published On: Jul 15 2013 09:51:29 AM MDT
Updated On: Jul 15 2013 08:40:09 PM MDT
WEST MULLAN ROAD FIRE
SUPERIOR, Mont. -

Mandatory evacuations are in place for the Flat Creek and Pardee Creek areas, approximately 30 homes have been evacuated.  Area Closure is pending for fire area from Flat Creek to Keystone Creek.

The following is from a press release by the US Forest Service:

"Firefighters began conducting burnout operations on the southwest side of the fire today to eliminate fuel and provide a buffer zone to protect structures in that area of the fire. Fire managers are also continuing to utilize aircraft to keep the fire from spreading to the east. Ten to 12 homes were evacuated voluntarily last night due to the proximity of the fire to residences. Residents were notified of the fire locations and fire behavior and chose to evacuate. Forest Service and local Rural Fire Department engines are providing structure protection where needed. The fire has also spotted to the north and helicopters are being used to suppress those spot fires. Firefighters today will continue to utilize aircraft to stop fire spread to the east and work to establish an anchor point at the base of the fire. Fire managers expect active fire activity to be weather dependent, with more active fire behavior with any increased temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions."

A wildfire that started near Interstate 90 about two miles northwest of Superior had grown to an estimated 700 acres by Monday afternoon.

An incident response team is meeting to determine its attack.  Our team there reports smoke has lifted in town and it is now difficult to even see flames.
    
The West Mullan Fire started at about 5 p.m. Sunday and had burned about 150 acres by 8:30 p.m.
    
Lolo National Forest spokesman Boyd Hartwig says the fire led to the evacuation of about a dozen residences.  Our crew on the scene has been told other homeowners are on evacuation alert.
    
Fire crews are trying to keep the fire from moving east toward residences.

The fire's hitting Superior hard. The smoke is so thick in Superior, health officials closed the pool and are now urging people to stay indoors.

Parts of West Mullan Road in Superior are blocked off .

Thick smoke has created limited the visibilty in Superior and along Interstate 90 in the area.

Two crews are fighting the fire with a dozen engines while two helicopters drop water. Hartwig says another helicopter is on the way and fire managers have requested two 20-member hotshot crews and three more helicopters.
    
The cause of the fire is under investigation.