Aug 22, 2013 3:15 PM by Mark Thorsell - MTN News
LOLO - The Lolo Creek Complex Fire has burned more than 9,500 acres and continues to threaten homes and property.
More than 500 people, along with nine helicopters and 31 engines, are assigned to battle the fire, which has been deemed as the top firefighting priority in the country.
Engine crews patrolled the fire lines throughout the night and reported no significant activity along U.S. Highway 12 or Sleeman Creek Road.
Fire managers report that the wildfire continued to slowly advance to the east, backing down the slope above the south fork of Sleeman Gulch.
U.S. Highway 12 remains closed, although some residents were allowed to briefly return to their home on Thursday morning.
Hundreds of homes remain evacuated, and a pre-evacuation notice is in effect for residents living west of U.S. Highway 93 from Hayes Creek Road to the center of Lolo. Those people are not being told to leave, but are encouraged to be ready in case they have to be evacuated.
A fire information trailer has been set up at the Lolo Super Stop, and the Montana Red Cross is manning a shelter at Christ the King Church in Missoula.
The Missoula County Fairgrounds is accepting livestock and horses while evacuated pets can be taken to Missoula Animal Control on Butler Creek Road.
Late Thursday morning, the Montana Department of Transportation issued an alert for travelers on US-12 south of Missoula between Lolo and the Idaho State Line.
The alert states that the road is closed from Graves Creek at milepost 16 to the junction with US 93 at Lolo; the duration of the closure is unknown at this time.
Eastbound traffic from Idaho is being detoured at milepost 16 north to I-90 near Alberton on Forest Service Road - Graves Creek/Petty Creek. All semi-trucks and large motor coaches must use an alternate route due to road condition and gravel surface. All other travelers use detour at your own discretion. US-12 westbound traffic must use alternate route.
More details are available here.