Lolo Creek Complex threatens power supply for millions


LOLO, Mont. - Fire bosses at the Lolo Creek Complex say growth on the north flank could soon threaten a large power line that supplies millions of homes in the northwest with electricity.

Officials tell us the 500 KVA Bonneville Power Authority (BPA) power line feeds electricity to homes and business in multiple states and that it is critical that crews protect the line.

Dave Schmitt, public information officer with the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team, tells us there are no homes in the path of danger, but officials are keeping an eye on the weather because more thunderstorms are expected to hit the area tomorrow, bringing gusty winds with them.

"Power lines, as they are, are very susceptible to smoke and if it gets between the power lines it causes arching," Schmitt tells us.  "If the fires is intense it can damage the lines themselves, physically damage the line, so that is a very strong concern because it is several miles north of the fire."

Highway 12 remains open, since officials made the call to let traffic through on Saturday, and extra highway patrol troopers are on highway 12 making sure people do not exceed 45 mph.

Fire bosses tell us the blaze remains just under 11,000 acres and containment's is up from 40 to 47 percent but fire officials tell us the remainder of the fire is burning in rugged, steep terrain laden with heavy fuels.

Officials want to remind the public to be cautious driving on highway 12 because crews are still using the highway to move large pieces of equipment.

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