Evacuation orders were issued Friday night after a wildfire erupted near Elmo on the west side of Flathead Lake.
The man-made fire was estimated at around 4,000 acres as of Saturday morning. Fire behavior was described as extreme.
An evacuation zone extended from Big Arm north to Dayton along US 93, along Montana 28, and along Lake Mary Ronan Road from mile marker 5 to US 93.
Elmo was considered a Level 3 evacuation status, which means people in that area should leave immediately. Others in the evacuation zone should be ready to leave, the Polson Fire Department alerted.
The Red Cross has set up an evacuation center at Linderman Gym in Polson.
Montana 28 was closed and people were advised to avoid the area.
An estimated 100 firefighters were on the scene. The fire was being handled as a Type 3 incident.
Responders included emergency personnel from Lake County, CSKT Tribal Fire Division, Chief Cliff, Rollins, Hot Springs, Polson, Ronan, Finley Point and Mission, with air support and DNRC paratroopers from Missoula.
Meanwhile, a small wildfire was reported Friday evening in a remote area of Glacier National Park on Flattop Mountain, but park spokeswoman Gina Kerman said crews were unable to find the fire Saturday morning and that it may have been extinguished.
Flattop Mountain has burned in previous fires. It is a remote area several miles north of the Going-to-the-Sun road.
Another 2-acre fire broke out Friday afternoon in grass and woods in the Flathead Forest west of Lakeside.
According to the Kalispell Interagency Dispatch Center, the Eagle Mountain Fire was at 1.5 acres at 4 p.m. Firefighting resources had been assigned to the fire.
The fire danger was rated as high in Flathead Forest.
According to the DNRC’s fire information dashboard, five new fires were reported in Montana on Friday. Two more were reported near Miles City and another near Great Falls. Size estimates were not available.
The Missoula National Weather Service said a dangerous heat wave will continue to affect all of the Northern Rockies through the weekend.
Heat warnings and advisories were in effect for north-central Idaho and western Montana through Sunday. Forecasters said temperatures could exceed 105 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas.