Management team called in for wildfires burning in Mineral, Sanders counties

MISSOULA — Firefighters across the Lolo National Forest are continuing to battle several fires that were sparked by thunderstorms on Wednesday.

The western portion of the Lolo National Forest — including the Superior and Plains-Thompson Falls Ranger Districts — experienced the most lightning activity.

SEAT Sunset Fire

Lolo National Forest

A Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 1 has been ordered and will take command of multiple wildfire incidents located on the Superior and Plains-Thompson Falls Ranger Districts by Friday.

“Our firefighters worked tirelessly throughout the day and into the night to respond to multiple new fire starts across the Forest. We train and prepare for moments like this. We made the decision to add capacity to suppression efforts by bringing on a Type 1 Incident Management Team due to the volume and complexity of the wildfire situation on the western side of the forest. As always, our priorities are the safety of the public and our firefighters.” – Lolo NF Supervisor Carolyn Upton

Fire managers report several helicopters, Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs), a Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT), smokejumpers, ground crews, engines, heavy equipment, helitack, and air attack were used on Thursday. Aerial resources were shared between multiple emerging incidents and were used to slow fire spread while crews worked to assess and gain access to the fire areas, according to a news release.

VLAT Sunset Fire

Lolo National Forest

Firefighters are expecting new wildfires to emerge over the coming days due to increased temperatures and drying fuel moisture.