Terrain, fuels slow Elmo 2 fire

Joshua Murdock

ELMO — The Elmo 2 fire on the west side of Flathead Lake was less active Thursday after multiple days of explosive growth this week. 

Strong winds from the southwest, warm temperatures and low humidity — a combination warranting a red-flag warning — created prime conditions for extreme fire behavior on Thursday. But those winds were pushing the northern head of the fire down steep mountainsides toward Lake Mary Ronan. The result was a fire that slowly crept down the mountain as six scooper planes doused it with water and crews reinforced lines below. 

“We had an anticipated forecast and the plan associated with it,” said Daniel McKeague, a public information officer with Northern Rockies Team 7, “and at this point in the day, 1630, we’ve been able to work that plan. The fire backed down from the DNRC section and approached Camp Tuffit Road.” 

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McKeague said at 4:30 p.m. Thursday that the fire had reached the road near its most southern point but had not yet reached the lake shore, though it is slowly backing down the mountainside toward it. The eight structures that burned in the fire were destroyed Monday. Those structures,

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