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Montana wildfire destroys 4 houses, threatens lakeside homes

Montana

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ELMO, Montana (AP) — A fire in northwestern Montana that has destroyed at least four homes and forced the evacuation of about 150 residences west of Flathead Lake continued to be pushed north by winds on Wednesday, fire officials said.

Crews had to be pulled off the lines on Wednesday afternoon due to increased fire activity, Sara Rouse, a public information officer, told NBC Montana.

There were concerns the fire could reach Lake Mary Ronan by Wednesday evening, officials said.

Residents living along Lake Mary Ronan Road and around the lake who had not yet heeded evacuation orders were asked to do so by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The fire could spot over the road, impeding travel, officials said.

Another 100 residences were under pre-evacuation orders, Rouse said.

The fire, which started on July 29 in grass on the Flathead Indian Reservation, quickly moved into timber and had charred nearly 29 square miles (76 square km) by Wednesday morning. It also destroyed four outbuildings.

The fire was 16% contained at that time, with the fire line along Montana Highway 28 to the south of the blaze.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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