A wildfire apparently started by a lawnmower has burned more than 700 acres just northeast of Frenchtown and led to the evacuation of hundreds of residences.
The Mill Creek Fire was reported just after 2 p.m. Thursday by a man who said his lawnmower chipped a rock, sending a spark into the dry grass. The fire raced uphill, away from the town.
The Missoula County sheriff's office issued voluntary, but strongly recommended evacuation notices to homeowners north of Interstate 90 between Fred Lane and Mill Creek.
Meanwhile, southwest of Philipsburg, the 100-acre Moose Meadow Fire was reported Thursday afternoon and had burned about 100 acres. The Granite County sheriff's office is evacuating residences in the Moose Lake and Copper Creek areas. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.