Firefighting officials have combined three smaller fires that are actually burning towards each other into one new complex, according to Fire Information Officer Kate Jerman.

“There's the Shotgun Fire, which is located approximately seven miles north of Powell Junction,” said Jerman. “It's burning on the Powell Ranger District over in Idaho. Then, there's the BM Hill Fire which originated on the Powell Ranger District as well. But since then it has moved over into the Montana side onto the Missoula Ranger District. And there's the Lolo Creek Fire, which originated on the Missoula Ranger District about a mile and a half northeast of the Lolo Pass Visitor Center. So all three of these fires are being managed under the Granite Pass Fire Complex.”

Jerman said to better manage firefighting resources, the fires have been combined.

“Given how fire grows, the fire behavior fire managers decided it would be most efficient to complex these fires, which means there are now three fires and they're being managed under the name Granite Pass Complex,” she said.

Jerman said the Evacuation Warning remains in effect from the Lolo Hot Springs Resort up to the Idaho border. She described what resources are working to keep the fires from spreading.

“We have firefighters up there right now,” she said. “We have a Hotshot crew, along with engines and various firefighters on the ground, and today what they're focusing their efforts on is what we call substructure preparation and protection. So they're primarily in the Lolo Hot Springs area and around critical infrastructure and they're cutting vegetation away from those areas, creating fuel breaks, and throwing away flammable material to get ready to protect those structures.”

Jerman said a new Inciweb page has been created to bring the public more information about the new combined fire complex.

“Actually, that is a great place for the public to go to find information about the Granite Pass Complex,” she said. “That Inciweb page was just started today. So we're working on populating that and getting it updated with the most current information. There should be some photos on there. We're hoping to get more in the coming days, as well as updates on current size and planned actions for the fire.”

Jerman said the three fires that now make up the Granite Pass Fire Complex total a little over 900 acres in size.

Jerman encourages all residents in the area to stay connected with the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page for updated evacuation information.

 

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