Firefighters Battle Wildfire Along the North Fork

At least one home was evacuated Saturday evening as the fire grew to 25 acres

By Justin Franz

Firefighters are trying to contain a 30-acre wildfire that started Saturday afternoon along the North Fork of the Flathead River.

The fire is located about 11 miles north of Columbia Falls and forced the evacuation of at least one home, according to Flathead County Undersheriff Dave Leib. Three other homeowners have also been warned that they may have to leave because of the fire.

The North Fork Road was closed near the Glacier Rim river access because of firefighting activity.

According to Leib, the fire was first reported shortly after 12 p.m. and by the time firefighters arrived it had grown from less than an acre to five acres. Throughout the afternoon the fire continued to spread on U.S. Forest Service land and at one point flying embers even sparked small fires in Glacier National Park on the other side of the river. On Saturday evening, two helicopters were dropping water on the fire and a bulldozer was plowing firebreaks.

Leib said the cause of the fire is unknown at this time.

Saturday was the hottest June day on record in Kalispell with the mercury hitting 97 degrees. But that record may not last long as the National Weather Service in Missoula says temperatures could exceed 100 degrees on Sunday.

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