This Week’s Missoula News Highlights-Week of July 15


Smoke moves into Missoula Valley marking Wildfire Season

Missoula began to become affected by the first significant wildfires in the region as smoke rolled into the valley Wednesday evening. Smoke was most likely coming from the Mullan fire near the Idaho border. The fire has forced more evacuations in the area, including access to the north side of the Clark Fork River in Superior. Thursday afternoon residents on Keystone and LaVista roads were force to evacuate as the fire crept downhill toward nearly fifty structures. Other fires were spotted after lightning storms moved through Western Montana Wednesday evening. Both the Arlee Pines fire and the Rattlesnake fire are believed to have been sparked by lightning. (read more) other links: Lightning, Gold Creek

Three People hit by Lightning in Glacier Park

Wednesday’s turbulent weather not only sparked forest fires with its lightning, but also left three people hospitalized after being struck by lightning while hiking on a popular Glacier Park trail. The victims included one adult male, one adult female, and a child. The group was hiking on the St. Mary Falls Trail when a fast moving storm moved into the area. Witnesses to the accident performed CPR on the victims as park officials rushed to the scene. Park medics were flown in and the victims were carried out 3 quarters of a mile to the trailhead by stretchers. All three victims were taken to Kalispell Regional Hospital and were reported to be in stable condition on Thursday morning. (read more) other links: CPR performed by bystanders

Photo courtesy of KPAX TV.

Photo courtesy of KPAX TV.

Historic Bannack Town hit by damaging Flash Flood

Montana park officials estimate that nearly 80% of the historic town of Bannack was washed away in a flash flood Wednesday. The ghost town was the first territorial state capital of Montana and attracted thousands of miners after gold was discovered in nearby grasshopper creek in 1862. The town is popular with tourists and included over sixty structures, of which 80% received damage from Wednesday’s flood. The town is now closed to visitors and the Bannack Days festival that was set to take place this weekend has been canceled. (read more) other links: Bannack

Seven Bighorn Sheep Killed in separate Accidents

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials are warning drivers to be more cautious when driving through bighorn sheep areas after a total of seven sheep were killed by vehicles over the past week. Five sheep were killed by drivers on highway 200 near the cliffs just outside of Bonner, while another sheep was struck and killed on Lower Rock Creek. The seventh bighorn was killed on highway 93 south of Missoula. Officials say that bighorn sheep are attracted to the salt on roadways and the green irrigated fields and lawns often found near roads. (read more) other links: MFWP



Tom Diddel has lived in Missoula on and off for nearly thirty-eight years. He enjoys skiing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and is currently working as a Freelance Writer and a Para-Educator.




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