Published: July 27,2017
Authorities in a western Montana county have ordered residents to evacuate their homes as a wildfire approaches.
According to KPAX, the Mineral County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday that about 60 homes and other structures in the Sunrise Creek and Quartz Flats areas are under siege from the so-called Sunrise fire, which is burning 11 miles southeast of Superior in the Lolo National Park.
Residents living near Verde Creek have also been warned that they may need to evacuate.
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The lightning-sparked blaze started July 16 and has grown to more than 5 square miles, reports Inciweb.
Mike Behrens of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest told KPAX the more than 400 firefighters battling the blaze are facing numerous challenges, including difficult terrain and dry conditions.
"As far as containment, I hate to say this but given some of the driest conditions fuels wise and no forecasted moisture any time soon, at least in the next couple three weeks, this is a fire that's going to be around until the end of fire season, unfortunately," he said.
A ridge of high pressure aloft that has persistently focused heat in southwest Canada and the northern Rockies this summer will re-establish itself into next week, leading to more hot and dry weather, said weather.com senior meteorologist Jon Erdman.
"While we can't rule out a stray thunderstorm the next few afternoons, beneficial, soaking rain is nowhere in sight to help the fire fight in western Montana," Erdman said.
Meanwhile, firefighters have made progress on the nation's largest wildfire burning near the Missouri River in eastern Montana.
The week-old Lodgepole Complex fire, which is now 62 percent contained, has burned more than 422 square miles and destroyed more than two dozen homes.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency accepted Montana's request for a Fire Management Assistance Grant to help cover costs associated with battling the blaze, the Great Falls Tribune reports. Initially, the request had been rejected. So far, the fire has cost $6 million to contain.
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