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More Hot Weather on Horizon as Firefighters Try Wrangling Wildfires

Type II Incident Management Team assumed command of four fires west of Kalispell on Tuesday

The Latest

-The Lazier Creek 3 Fire has burned 1,140 acres near Middle Thompson Lake

-Type II Incident Management Team assumed command at 6 a.m. Tuesday

-Hot and dry weather expected to complicate firefighting efforts 

Updated: July 11, 3:15 p.m.

Firefighters trying to get a handle on four wildfires west of Kalispell will not be getting much help from Mother Nature this week as hot and dry conditions persist in Northwest Montana.

On Tuesday morning, Thompson’s Eastern Montana Type II Incident Management Team assumed command of the 1,140-acre Lazier Creek 3 Fire near Middle Thompson Lake as well as three smaller blazes in the area. Approximately 85 personnel are assigned to the four fires along the U.S. Highway 2 corridor between Kalispell and Libby.

Public Information Officer Anna Callahan said additional personnel would be arriving in the area in the coming days.

The lightning-caused Lazier Creek 3 Fire was first reported on Sunday and quickly grew from 40 acres to 400 acres in a matter of hours. The fire is burning in timber south of U.S. Highway 2 and west of the Thompson River Road. Today, firefighters are trying to reinforce and improve fire lines that were constructed on the southwest flank of the fire and construct new lines to the north and east of the blaze. Cabins and homes have been evacuated near the Bend Guard Station in Sanders County.

Firefighters are also working on building line around three other blazes in the area: the 75-acre Rogers Mountain Fire north of Happy’s Inn, the 11-acre Grubb Fire near Pleasant Valley, and the 11-acre NW Meadow Peak Fire near Meadow Peak.

Firefighters have been dealing with small spot fires all across Northwest Montana after a series of thunderstorms over the weekend. On Tuesday morning, a spot fire was reported on Boulder Ridge near Many Glacier on the east side of Glacier National Park, according to spokesperson Lauren Alley. Firefighters hoped to have the small fire completely contained by the end of the day. The blaze was the first reported fire inside the park this summer, Alley said.

Warm weather is expected to continue throughout the week, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Travis Booth. Temperatures are expected to stay in the 70s and 80s before getting into the 90s for the weekend.

“It’s going to be very dry for the next several days and that’s going to complicate firefighting efforts,” he said.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.