NewsWildfire Watch


Elmo 2 Fire forces evacuations, firefighters continue to battle blaze

Posted at 9:30 AM, Jul 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-31 11:30:56-04

ELMO - Saturday saw an all-out aerial attack to put out the human-caused Elmo 2 Fire burning off of Montana Highway 28.

MTN News talked to homeowners who were evacuated and gathered near the scene to watch the fire crews work.

Thirty-six families were evacuated from their homes near Elmo on Friday night after the fire started to spread very quickly.

A temporary shelter was set up at Linderman Elementary in Polson by the Red Cross.

“But I could see like the smoke sort of just billowing up and I thought well that doesn't look normal. And so I went down to my mom's trailer, and it was coming so fast like it was just from when we noticed it," said Elmo resident Shanna Manywounds. "And then it was like, the guy was racing down the road saying you might want to get out of here. And it happened so fast."

The residents we talked with said they were not given much time to evacuate their homes, but they gathered what they could and tried to do as much fire prevention as possible. Some of the evacuees have children and animals, heightening the already stressful situation.

“Yeah, it's you have definitely a higher level of anxiety, but we just tried to stay focused and get out as quickly as we could. So yeah, stressful," said Shane Quick, a part-time Elmo resident.

“You know, it's one of those things like we got everything that matters my kid and my critters and whatever happens, happens, you know," said Manywounds.

Some people who have homes closer to US Highway 93 watched the fire approach their homes throughout the night and didn’t know if they had caught fire until daybreak.

“But it appears to be fine. You can see our neighbor's house, which is fine and ours is right next to theirs and it looks fine. So that was a happy day," said Manywounds.

The Elmo 2 Fire started in the grass but eventually spread to the timber burning many acres close to popular lakes in the area.

“It's such a beautiful area and its going to be a lasting scar for quite some time the grass will grow back but the trees, it’s going to take a while for it to come back so that’s unfortunate," said Quick.

It is still unknown as to when the fire will be contained but it looks like fire crews are making progress with the help of the aerial team.