LOLO – National Guard troops are now helping out at a rapidly growing wildfire in western Montana.
The 155 soldiers who arrived Saturday will monitor 35 security checkpoints south of Missoula where an evacuation order is in place. The troops will relieve law enforcement officers, freeing them up so they can return to other duties.
The wildfire burned an additional 14 square miles Friday and now has charred an estimated 44 square miles of wooded, mountainous terrain west of Lolo.
The Missoulian reports heavy smoke has settled into valleys. Officials warn of poor air quality.
The fire destroyed two homes and several outbuildings Thursday but no structures burned during the fire’s run Friday.
The fire has flared up after burning since at least July 15.
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