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Evacuation orders expanded, growth slows on blaze near Lolo

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Will Wadley, KECI Weekend Anchor, wwadley@keci.com
Published On: Sep 15 2013 09:30:40 PM MDT
Updated On: Sep 16 2013 12:20:40 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Update from the Montana Fire Prevention Bureau:

Evacuations for the fire burning east of Lolo and east of the Bitterroot River include Oral Zumwalt Way, Trails End Road up to and including Evans Ridge Road. This is approximately 50-60 homes. The fire is not growing as rapidly as when first reported.

An evacuation has been ordered for residents living on Oral Zumwalt Way, Trails End Road, and Evans Ridge Rd, southwest of Miller Creek Road, east of Lolo and east of the Bitterroot River.

The fire is approximately 50 acres. 

Multiple resources from Missoula and Ravalli county, DNRC, the US Forest Service, and several rural departments are on the scene.

Nonresidents are asked to not use Upper or Lower Miller Creek Roads at this time so fire equipment can get in and residents on Oral Zumwalt Way can safely leave. 

***

We have breaking news as crews rush to contain a lightning sparked wildfire near Lolo; high winds in the area continue to push the new blaze east up the mountain.

The blaze is burning about 10 miles south of Missoula in the Upper Miller Creek area just east of the Bitterroot River and Highway 93.

People who live along Oral Zumwalt Way are being asked to evacuate and non-residents are asked to not use Upper or Lower Miller Creek Roads at this time so fire equipment can get in.  

Witnesses first reported the blaze sparked around 8:30 p.m. Sunday evening.

We have been in constant contact with fire officials and we re-checked in with them just after 11:00 p.m. - they tell us the blaze has grown to 50 acres.

NBC Montana was on the scene shortly after the blaze sparked and we talked to residents who tell us they are very concerned for a number of homes sitting just a few miles east of the fire.

Lolo resident Liza Murphy says her son saw lightening in the area and came
running in to tell his parents that he smelled smoke.

"It's pretty scary because the wind is blowing and were worried that it might jump the river," says Murphy as she stand outside of her home looking up at the mountain.  "The fire doesn't seem so huge but it's going really fast and it's almost straight down to the river so the wind better stop blowing."

Murphy tell us she's being precautious and has already brought her son to her mothers house.

We're doing our best to collect more information on the blaze and we will continue to update our website with the latest.