This Week’s Missoula News Highlights-Week of Aug 19


Fire crews work to keep Lolo Creek Complex fire from pushing east

After two nights of large runs the Lolo Creek Complex fire has finally slowed some allowing crews to construct a dozer line above Sleeman Gulch.  Crews raced against a forecast that called for evening thunderstorms and wind to dig the line.  Officials are hoping to keep the fire from spreading into the gulch which contains a lot of fuel and homes.  The fire, which has claimed 5 homes in the area since Monday, is closing in on Lolo and officials are working diligently to make sure that does not happen.  With the Thursday evening thunderstorms not materializing it appears that Mother Nature is cooperating for the time being. (read more) other links: feds help pay, fire map, firewatch

Auto Body shop fire victim dies in Seattle hospital

An explosion that rocked a long-time auto body shop in Missoula Monday has claimed the life of one employee and left another hospitalized.  The accident happened at Rick’s Auto Body Shop when an employee separating chemicals created a static charge that ignited fumes in the room. Bruce Hall and another employee were injured in the blast. While the other unnamed employee was treated and released from St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula, Hall, who was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, died Tuesday morning. (read more) other links: OSHA investigates

Yellowstone officials sign new winter use agreement

When the snow finally reaches the nation’s first national park visitors will find new, more flexible rules regarding the use of snowmobiles and snow-coaches in Yellowstone. The number of winter vehicles allowed in the park has long been a bone of contention amongst recreationists and environmentalists. The noise and pollution from snowmobiles has created restrictions concerning the numbers of these vehicles allowed in the park during the winter months. Until this recent agreement, vehicle numbers were restricted using a fixed maximum number. However, the new plan allows for some flexibility specifically regarding events that bring larger groups to the park. The new regulations are set to go into effect during the 2014-2015 winter season. (read more) other links: winter use history

Lolo Creek runs dry leaving hundreds of dead fish. .

Photo courtesy of KPAX TV.

Lolo Creek runs dry leaving hundreds of fish dead

The hot dry weather combined with over usage of water to fight the forest fire in Lolo Creek has left the lower part of the waterway dry, killing hundreds of fish. The creek which runs along highway 12 has been struck by a combination of the two events and the result is a large fish kill. The creek often runs low in the late summer months and officials say last year it took a coordinated effort to keep the fish from dying in a dry creek bed. This year’s fire season has created a huge demand for the water in the creek and it seems there is little to be done about it. Homeowners have been forced to over irrigate in order to save structures and fire fighters have been using the creek’s upper portions for emergency water drops. (read more) other links: video




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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