Update: Colt fire bursts to 500+ acres, evacuations ordered

The Colt fire northwest of Seeley Lake grew from 15 acres Thursday afternoon to more than 500 on Friday as residents around Rainy and Summit lakes were ordered to evacuate.

The Missoula County Sheriff’s Department issued an evacuation order Friday afternoon for residents along Highway 83 between Rainy Lake and Summit Lake, about 15 miles north of the town of Seeley Lake. The order required affected people to immediately leave the area due to “an immediate threat” from the Colt fire. Law enforcement officials were traveling roads in the area with lights flashing and alternating siren tones to alert residents to the danger.

Residents were advised to “get out of the area immediately … this is not the time to move personal property or livestock,” the Sheriff’s release stated.

The fire was 0% contained midday Friday as aircraft dropped water and fire retardant on and around the blaze. A plume of smoke was visible from Seeley Lake, 15 miles to the southeast. The fire, started by lightning Monday and discovered early Tuesday morning, was burning just south of Colt Lake about 5 miles northwest of Highway 83 at Lake Alva. Because the land around the fire was previously industrial timber land before becoming part

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