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Crews reach 30 percent containment on Lolo Creek Complex

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Aug 22 2013 10:53:03 PM MDT
Crews reach 30 percent containment on Lolo Creek Complex
LOLO, Mont. -

Fire bosses report the Lolo Creek Complex is now 30 percent contained.  This comes just one day after it was named the nation’s top priority wildfire.

So far the Lolo Creek Complex has burned 9,504 acres, destroyed five homes, some outbuildings and a number of vehicles.  

Thursday evening fire officials held a public meeting in the Lolo School gymnasium to keep residents up to date and NBC Montana was there.  

The sound of clapping and cheering filled the gymnasium when fire officials announced the progress they have made containing the blaze.  

Officials say the goal Friday is to increase the amount of containment on this fire.

They say having an additional 652 crew members made a big impact in Thursday’s fight, however they're not breathing easy with winds gusting tomorrow up to 30 mph and possibly stronger if a storm system moves in.
 
Officials are still keeping a close eye on the weather but they are not the only ones.
 
After the meeting NBC Montana caught up with Lolo resident Rich Robinson.  He has lived on Ridgeway Drive for over 30 years, and he tells us he's keeping a close eye on the wind.

“Tonight and tomorrow -- and tomorrow night -- will tell the story,” says Robinson.  “If it gets past Sleeman Gulch then we’re in trouble, because we are right after that.”

At the meeting Postal Service officials announced that folks living up Highway 12 can pick up their mail at the post office in Lolo, and they want to remind people to bring identification.

Fire bosses tell us reopening Highway 12 is a priority; however safety is their main concern, so they tell us the highway will be opened again once they know it is safe and clear for crews and residents.  

Tighter controls at roadblocks will continue Friday.  This means authorities will only permit residents to access their home if it’s an emergency and only between 9 a.m. and noon.

To get a permit people need to head to the Incident Command Post in Lolo and get approval from fire officials.  

Officials tell us residents can arrive at the Incident Command Post as early as 8:30 a.m. to get permits.