POLSON — Crews are taking advantage of this week's change in weather to try and gain an advantage over the Boulder 2700 Fire east of Polson and for the first time, we're getting a better picture of how much property damage resulted from the weekend blowup.
The first rain showers and somewhat cooler temperatures are helping a Type 2 fire Team work to secure more of a containment line around the perimeter of the blaze that's burned more than 1,400 acres.
"Absolutely. So they've got more resources in. We're up to about 200 folks now working on this fire. They're going to continue structure protection as well as constructing hand line along the north and south flanks of the fire," explained Public Information Officer Hanna McBrearty. "But in these areas, there's a lot of heavy and downed timber so it's expected to take quite some time."
The Lake County Sheriff's Office allowed some evacuated residents in the Finley Point area to return to their homes on Tuesday. But a combination of homes and other buildings were lost when the fire exploded across Montana Highway 35.
McBrearty says efforts are still underway to keep other structures secure while also keeping people safe.
"The information we have is that eight primary structures were affected and 15-secondary ones. So those secondary ones would be more like the garages, the sheds, the outbuildings, those sorts," McBreaty said.
"The number one priority is protecting lives of people in the community and the firefighters and then after that protecting structures and other values at risk," she added.
Fire crews are watching for a return to hotter temperatures and lower humidity, but also the threat of gusty winds and the potential for dry lightning.
A Red Cross shelter for evacuees remains in operation at Linderman Elementary School in Polson.
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