Mill Creek Fire blows up to more than 720 acres outside Frenchtown


MISSOULA, Mont. - The Mill Creek Fire, which sparked Thursday afternoon just northeast of Frenchtown, has now burned more than 720 acres.

Fire officials tell NBC Montana they are making progress on the blaze and currently have more than 175 crewmembers on the scene. 

No injuries have been reported, and so far all the homes and structures in the area are safe.

The fire, which started just after 2 p.m. Thursday, forced fire officials to give voluntary evacuation notices to residents living on Mill Creek Road, Fred Lane, Bunchgrass Court and Grooms Road.

Fire officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation but they believe a lawnmower may have started the blaze.

Officials say weather is a concern with predicted winds and possible thunderstorm activity.

A fire information hotline is available for residents. You can call (406) 258-4636.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office released maps of the evacuation areas Thursday evening. While the notices are voluntary, officials say they are strongly encouraged. To look at the Frenchtown area map click here. For the Evaro area click here.

Officials and evacuees are meeting at the church at the bottom of Mill Creek Road. We are told large animals can be evacuated to the Western Montana Fairgrounds and small animals can be evacuated to the Missoula Animal Control Shelter.

Missoula Animal Control is coordinating care for evacuated animals and working with Missoula County Fairgrounds on plans to board large animals if needed. Call 541-7387 for information. 

Firefighters will work through the night on the Mill Creek Fire, hoping to take advantage of cooler temperatures and humidity overnight.

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