Evacuations lifted for residents in Lodgepole Complex fire area

Evacuations lifted for residents in Lodgepole Complex fire area”

The fire is threatening 60 homes and other structures Wednesday 11 miles southeast of Superior in the Lolo National Forest. Residents living near Verde Creek are being warned that they may have to leave, too.

More than 600 firefighters in Montana on Tuesday battled to halt the spread of the biggest wildfire in the United States after it torched buildings, raced through forests and drove scores of people from their homes. More accurate mapping shows that the fire has burned a total of 270,000 acres on the four fires, Bridge Coulee, Barker, South Breaks, and Square Butte.

More favorable weather conditions have allowed firefighters to make some progress on trying to contain wildfires that have destroyed 16 homes in eastern Montana.

By Tuesday evening, a firefighting force consisting of 650 personnel had managed to carve buffer lines around 36% of the blaze's perimeter, up from a containment level of 20% reported earlier in the day, fire officials said.

Connell says the incident team will keep an eye on shifting winds and rising temperatures over the next few days, but that the blaze is now 35 percent contained.

Fire crews gained ground on Tuesday against a almost week-old wildfire that has torched more than two dozens of buildings and charred hundreds of square miles of Montana prairie and is now the biggest fire burning in the United States.

Evacuations were lifted for property owners in the fire zone area on Tuesday, but 16 homes have been destroyed as well as a significant amount of fencing and haystacks.

The Lodgepole fire was started by lightning on Wednesday, the coordination center said.

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