UPDATE: Wildfire Starts Near Libby

Pit Fire burned 7 acres near Highway 37 on Tuesday evening

By Justin Franz

The Latest

Pit Fire burns 7 acres near downtown Libby

Fire danger on Flathead Reservation “Very High”

No fire restrictions on Flathead Reservation at this time 

Updated: 11 p.m., July 30

A wildfire just north of downtown Libby burned 7 acres Tuesday night.

The Pit Fire started late Tuesday near the intersection of Pipe Creek Road and Montana Highway 37, according to the Kootenai National Forest. Multiple helicopters aided firefighters from Libby, Troy and the U.S. Forest Service who worked through the evening to try and contain the blaze. By nightfall, it appeared firefighters had the upper hand and had turned their attention to dousing hotspots in the interior of the burned area.

Further south, fire officials on the Flathead Indian Reservation are asking the public to be especially vigilant in the coming days as hot, dry weather increases the possibility for another wildfire.

On Tuesday morning, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes’ Division of Fire announced that the fire danger was “very high” on the reservation. There are no fire restrictions at this time.

“We can’t afford for anyone to be careless during outdoor activities that have the potential to start a fire, so we urge the public to be extremely cautious with ignition sources,” officials wrote on Facebook. “We are asking the public to be extremely cautious with ignition sources. We are also asking the public to be extremely cautious while operating equipment that can cause a wildfire ignition.”

Last week, a lightning-caused fire near Ronan torched more than 5,300 acres. As of Monday, the Moss Ranch Fire is 40 percent contained and firefighters are starting to go home.

On July 28, firefighters battling the Moss Ranch Fire responded to another blaze that started along the Flathead River because of an unattended campfire. The Nenemay Fire burned 17 acres before firefighters were able to contain it.

Further north, on the Flathead and Kootenai national forests, the fire danger has been increased to “High.”

A red flag warning has been issued for much of the Rocky Mountain Front and Central Montana, including the east side of Glacier National Park, from 12 p.m. until 9 p.m. today.

Elsewhere in the state, the North Hills Fire near Helena has forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes.

This story will be updated when additional information becomes available.