-The Lazier Creek 3 Fire is listed at 1,145 acres and 30 percent contained.
–307 firefighters have been assigned to the five fires west of Kalispell
-Rising temperatures could complicate firefighting efforts
Updated: July 13, 9:30 a.m.
Cooler temperatures have helped more than 300 firefighters west of Kalispell get a grip on five lightning-caused wildfires burning along U.S. Highway 2.
As of Thursday morning, the largest of the blazes, the Lazier Creek 3 Fire near Middle Thompson Lake, had scorched 1,145 acres and was 30 percent contained. Yesterday, firefighters constructed containment line along the south and east flanks of the blaze and today they will start working on the northwest side of the fire. Firefighters have also been trying to douse spot fires that have emerged from the main blaze.
The Eastern Montana Type II Incident Management Team has also been battling four smaller fires. The Rogers Mountain Fire had burned 78 acres and was 49 percent contained, as of Thursday morning. Firefighters have been digging containment lines around the blaze and laying water hoses in an effort to extinguish hot spots. The 15-acre Grubb Fire, located north of Pleasant Valley, was listed as 100 percent contained and firefighters were starting to mop up the fire on Thursday. The NW Meadow Peak Fire has burned 11.5 acres and was listed as 79 percent contained. And the 2645 Fire had scorched 3.25 acres and was 50 percent contained.
Fire managers said they expect temperatures to continue to rise through the end of the week and into the weekend. The National Weather Service was predicting temperatures in the 80s and 90s for the next few days.
The five fires west of Kalispell have resulted in a handful of closures, most notably, the Thompson River Road from the junction with U.S. Highway 2 to mile marker 28.
The five fires west of Kalispell were first discovered on Sunday and forced the evacuation of a handful of remote cabins, including the Bend Ranger Station.
This story will be updated when additional information becomes available.