Pre-Evacuation Warning Lifted Near East Fork Fire

Officials determine imminent risk to life and properties near Olney has diminished

By Beacon Staff
A fire engine drives through Olney as smoke from the East Fork Fire rises in the distance on Aug. 18, 2023. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino on Wednesday rescinded the Aug. 17 pre-evacuation order for residents near Olney and the border of Flathead and Lincoln counties on U.S. Highway 93 in the vicinity of the East Fork Fire.

Heino, in coordination with Northern Rockies Complex Incident Management Team 6, deemed the imminent risk of danger to life and property in the area is diminished enough to roll back the order.

The lightning-sparked East Fork Fire has burned just over 5,000 acres since July 30 and currently has 662 firefighters assigned to the blaze. Overnight, up to a half-inch of rain fell with up to an inch expected today, allowing fire crews to focus on rehabilitation and repair along fire lines, and work on mopping up the the perimeter. Officials with the incident management team estimate crews will have roughly a week before the weather warms up and fire activity increases.

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