Evacuations Lifted in West Kooteanai, Libby as Firefighters Start to Contain Fires

Residents were able to return home Sunday a week after Caribou Fire dramatically forced them from their homes

By Justin Franz
Lincoln County residents watch the Caribou Fire west of Eureka. Contributed Photo.

The Latest

-Evacuations lifted near West Kootenai, Libby

Evacuations and closures remain in effect for Glacier Park

Changing weather clears smoke

Updated: Sept. 10, 8:20 p.m.

As firefighters make progress containing some of the large fires burning in Northwest Montana, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office lifted a number of evacuation orders on Sunday near West Kootenai and Libby.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office announced late Saturday that the evacuation order for the Caribou Fire was going to be lifted at 10 a.m. Sunday. A pre-evacuation warning will remain in effect for the community until further notice.

On Sept. 2, nearly 200 homes were evacuated when the lightning-sparked Caribou Fire burned east toward the small town on the west side of Lake Koocanusa. Approximately 40 structures were destroyed, including 10 homes. As of Sept. 10, the Caribou Fire has burned more than 19,000 acres and is 25 percent contained.

The team managing the Caribou Fire is also overseeing the Gibralter Fire east of Eureka. As of Sept. 10, it has burned 8,000 acres and is 27 percent contained.

The West Fork Fire near Libby has burned 9,900 acres prompting a number of evacuations north of town. On Sept. 10, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office lifted some evacuations, including along Kootenai River Road, Lower Quartz Creek Road, Bobtail Road from Kootenai River Road to Milton Drive, including Milton Drive, Hutton Drive, Verna Court, Burrell Drive and Indian Pipe. Evacuation orders remain in effect for Upper Bobtail Road, north of Milton Drive and 17 Mile Community along Pipe Creek Road.

The Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park continues to burn in the hills east of Lake McDonald. As of Sunday morning, it has burned more than 13,000 acres, prompting the evacuation of the area along the Going-to-the-Sun Road from Apgar to Logan Pass. The fire has grown little in recent days because of a thick layer of smoke that has settled across the region. On Sunday, at least two scooper planes were working the fire, dipping into nearby Lake McDonald for water. 

Two other fires are currently burning in Glacier Park. The Elder Creek Fire has burned more than 1,800 acres in British Columbia and 170 acres in Glacier Park north of Polebridge on the Canadian border. The Adair Peak Fire has burned more than 1,900 acres near Logging Lake.

The Highway 200 Complex fires near Plains have torched more than 21,000 acres. Some evacuation orders have been lifted in that area.

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