Posted: Jul 28, 2013 7:56 AM by Mike Powers, Mackenzie Lee - MTN News
ARLEE - Residents near the Jocko Canyon area outside of Arlee have been evacuated due to a quick moving fire.
The Firestone Flats fire erupted mid-afternoon on Saturday and has already gained major ground, burning more than 1,300 acres.
Authorities say around residences have been evacuated and officials add that there are several closures in the area, including roads to that area from Seeley Lake and Arlee, as well as the St. Mary's Lake Road coming from Mission.
The call came in shortly before 2 p.m. on and almost immediately a huge plume of smoke rose from the mountain northeast of Arlee. Nearly as fast came the aerial attack, with both helicopters and planes - followed by the evacuation orders.
Crews have been working feverishly to keep the flames on the west side of Jocko Canyon Road and away from the homes to the east. Crews dealt with a a wall of flames just several hundred yards from residences, and planned to fight fire with fire - by using back burns.
The fire has affected much of the valley as residents and campers were evacuated and ash was reported to be on some neighborhoods in the Seeley Lake.
There were no reports of any structures being burned as of late Saturday night, and we're told that a Type II Incident Management Team will arrive to take over management of the Firestone Slats fire on Sunday.
There's no word yet on what sparked the blaze.