Blog Cabin

Smoke from West Riverside fire no problem, except those with health conditions

(MISSOULA)- The smoke from the West Riverside fire is taking the beauty off the scenic views in the Missoula Valley. But local air quality experts say it’s not causing a health issue yet, unless you suffer from respiratory problems.

Dying winds allowed smoke from the fire east of Missoula to settle throughout Hellgate, downtown Missoula and the Rattlesnake, as well the Bonner area Wednesday morning. But the Missoula City-County Health Department says the air quality was still “good” to “moderate” later in the afternoon, as some winds helped to clear out some of the smoke.

However, smoke from the fire in the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Valleys has been thick enough to be “unhealthy” for sensitive groups and “moderate” to “unhealthy” in the Potomac Valley and areas north of Missoula.

That means people with heart of lung disease, smokers, children and the elderly should limit their time outdoors.

Additional smoke has also been settling into the air from prescribed burns in the Upper Clearwater and the Saddle Mountain fires which are straddling the Bitterroot Divide.

The smoke is expected to increase again overnight as an air inversion develops with the cooler temperatures and higher humidity. Health officials say Missoula can expect another smoky morning, especially as downdraft winds from Hellgate Canyon sends smoke back into the main valley.

Southern parts of the county may see more smoke settle in from the Saddle fire in Idaho.


Helmet giveaway at Osprey game

(MISSOULA)- The Brain Injury Association of Montana wants people to use their heads and wear a sport helmet. And coming up next week they'll be giving away 200 multi-sport helmets to spread the safety word.

This will be the 3rd year in a row the association has conducted the helmet giveaway, which is sponsored by Community Medical Center. CMC volunteers will be giving the helmets away and helping to fit them properly.

You can help defray the cost of the program by purchasing a $10 "fundraiser ticket" on the Osprey website. The game is on August 30th.

The association notes concussions are the most common type of brain injury in sports and "prevent is the only cure."


Woman charged with assault, disorderly conduct in DIRECTV package scare

(MISSOULA)- A Missoula woman is being charged with assault with a weapon, and disorderly conduct for placing unknown powder in a package and delivering it to DIRECTV's Missoula call center.

24-year old Aaron Danno was arrested after the Monday incident, which forced the company to evacuate over 300-employees and call hazardous materials teams to the call center on the west side of the city.

KPAX TV is reporting Danno delivered an envelope with the white powder inside and covered with Satanic symbols to the company's HR department on Monday. Prosecutors accuse her of trying to scare the man who fired her.


Bonner fire burns over 200 acres in just 4-hours

Smoke from the blaze could be seen from miles away(BONNER)- The hillside on the north side of the Clark Fork Valley was covered in fire as darkness fell Monday night, making it look like the campsite of an invading army.

It was actually the remnants of a fire that spread across the mountain north of Bonner in less than 4-hours, consuming over 200-acres.

The blaze, which is being called the West Riverside Fire, was first reported by residents as "some smoke and flames" on the steep hillside above town. But fanned by 20mph wind gusts the blaze spread across the entire face of the mountain in about an hour. By 8:30 it's estimated size was 150-acres, as the blaze began cresting the mountain overlooking the Blackfoot.

DNRC used two helicopters to dump water along the leading edge of the fire closest to homes and other structures against the mountain. An air tanker managed to make at least two retardant drops before darkness shut down the aerial operation.

Crews from Missoula Rural Fire called for help from fire departments as far away as Frenchtown and Potomac, bringing engines to help protect structures throughout the area.

No mandatory evacuations had been ordered, but some residents were leaving on their own as emergency teams kept an eye on homes and other buildings in the scattered neighborhoods close to the mountain.

DNRC says more fire crews will mobilize to get an early attack on the fire at first light.



Fire creating lots of smoke over Bonner, East Missoula

Anne Bashor photo(BONNER)- A new fire start just east of Missoula is sending smoke over Mount Jumbo, with the blaze already burning an estimated 25-acres.

KPAX TV is reporting the blaze broke out right before 6pm, burning on the hillside above Bonner and spreading rapidly up the hillside.

DNRC already has one helicopter on scene and a second chopper, along with an air tanker on the way. A 20-person fire crew has been dispatched to deal with the blaze.

There's no indication of structures being threatened at this point.