FLORENCE – Governor Steve Bullock was told, Tuesday, that the Lolo Peak Fire will be a “prolonged” event that could burn for weeks. ┬ábut fire managers say they’re also making progress fighting the blaze, which has now consumed over 33,000 acres.

Fire managers say they’re also making progress fighting the blaze, which has now consumed over 33,000 acres.

Firefighters have been using the calmer weather the past couple of days to conduct mop-up operations where the fire exploded in high winds late last week. During a briefing at the Incident Command Post in Florence Tuesday, Governor Bullock was told the crews have been taking advantage of the conditions to prepare for more unsettled weather later this week.

Bullock was told the work includes more “firing” operations and using retardant to try and direct the fire. The work is especially on the northwest edge above Lolo Creek, and to the southeast, where the fire continues to burn hot near Florence.

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The governor also learned of the local cooperation, a pre-planning more than a month before last week’s blow-up, which saved hundreds of homes.

Bullock urged people to be patient, and continue to pull together for a very tough fire season.

“And recognize that for all of you, even as we lose a couple of structures that this has been a hard fire season on anybody that’s come out here. I mean, to lose two lives, folks who were fighting fires and making a difference for our communities each and every day. Any frustrations that people have we ought to be given a little bit of grace as a result of that.”

185 families in Missoula County remain evacuated, with 245 in Ravalli County and 385 residents on evacuation warnings.

MTN’s Dennis Bragg

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