LAST UPDATED: 8/17/17, 3:17 PM
Montana is 93 million acres of spectacular unspoiled nature. Because of our diverse landscape and weather, wildfires happen as a natural part of Montana’s ecology. Sometimes a fire occurs near a popular destination, but there’s no reason to let it stop you from enjoying your Montana experience!
This summer, active fires are impacting less than 0.2% of the state—and often they’re in remote locations. Montana’s two national parks, 54 state parks, and all our vibrant and charming small towns are open for business and ready to serve you.
Below you’ll see information about fires with potential impacts on travel. If a fire is occurring near your destination, remember it’s being managed by experts whose top priority is public safety. If an area is open, it’s safe.
If you have questions or would like assistance with your Montana itinerary, feel free to call a travel counselor at 1-800-847-4868 or go to VisitMT.com to start a live chat.
LOLO PEAK FIRE
Date of Origin: Saturday, July 15
Location: 10 miles southwest of Lolo, Montana
Size: 15,091 acres
Percent Contained: 0%
Latest News: Significant fire growth occurred yesterday afternoon and evening. In just a few hours, westerly winds moved the fire approximately 4 miles to the east on the ridge north of Carlton Lake and into the top of the Mormon Creek drainage, resulting in new evacuation orders and warnings along both the highway 12 and 93 corridors at 10 p.m.
Evacuations Orders are now in effect for the Florence area west of Hwy 93, from the north side of Tie Chute Lane north into Missoula County. An Evacuation Warning is in effect south to Bass Creek Road.
Highway 12 remains open with a pilot car for access through the fire area.
Date of Origin: Sunday, July 16
Location: 11 miles southeast of Superior, MT
Size: 22,309 acres
Percent Contained: 30%
Latest News: The fire is moving down Trout Creek. Continued fire growth to the north, east and south will threaten structures. Long-range spotting with the expected gusty southwest winds has the potential to cross the Clark Fork River and I-90, impacting traffic, the Montana Rail Link rail line, transmission lines and additional structures. Burnouts along control lines will be necessary to direct main fire front away from communities. Continued fire perimeter growth is expected along uncontrolled fire edges.
RICE RIDGE FIRE
Date of Origin: Monday, July 24
Location: Along Rice Ridge, approximately 3 miles northeast of Seeley Lake on the Seeley Lake Ranger District, Lolo National Forest.
Size: 12,244 acres
Percent Contained: 10%
Latest News: Yesterday Crews began strategic firing operations near Morrell Mountain. Conditions were favorable for both aerial and ground based firing operations. The resulting fire activity, allowed for progress towards completing the firing objectives. Air resources were used to drop retardant along the ridgeline to reinforce containment lines and reduce the chances of spotting. Crews in the northern and western portions of the fire continued to strengthen and reinforce indirect lines. Fuels reduction continued on public land north and east of the Double Arrow Ranch.
Seeley Lake, the town and businesses, are open – and surrounding lakes are open to recreators. Seeley Lake waters are still closed to all recreational activities due to aircraft scooping water.
If smoke is heavy or you’re sensitive to it, you may wish to consider adjusting your itinerary to experience one of Montana’s indoor activities or explore a different area until air quality improves. Explore things to do at VisitMT.com.
Even if you see smoke, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re close to a fire. Sometimes smoke blows in from hundreds of miles away.
Here’s the latest air quality update from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality:
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality alert for Deer Lodge, Granite, Jefferson, Lewis and Clark, Mineral, Missoula, Powell, Ravalli, and Silver Bow counties in effect until further notice due to increased fire activity in west-central Montana, most notably on the Lolo Peak fire. Fire activity is expected to remain high for the next several days, resulting in persistent air quality impacts. Impacts are most significant in the Seeley Lake area. Smoke from the Rice Ridge fire is causing hazardous air quality impacts between midnight and noon. The Missoula City-County Health Department recommends residents spend as little night time as possible in Seeley Lake due to the dangerous overnight pollution levels.
For more information, click here.
To help reduce the risk of fires, restrictions are sometimes in place. This may be particularly important to you if you’re planning to camp.
Stage II Fire Restrictions are in effect for the following counties: Blaine, Choteau, Fergus, Flathead, Glacier, Granite, Lake, Lincoln, Mineral, Missoula, Musselshell, Petroleum, Powell, Ravalli, Sanders, Treasure, Wheatland, Yellowstone.
For a map and more information, click here.