Missoulians Put Out Two Acre Fire on Their Own During Power Outages
Tree limbs littered streets and damaged power lines as high speed winds rushed through Missoula causing all kinds of havoc around 6:30 yesterday evening. Butch Larcomb from Northwestern Energy said the outage was the largest he had seen in the Missoula area.
"At this point, we have about 3,200 customers without power in the Missoula area and plus some people down in the Bitterroot and then in the outlying areas in Missoula," Larcomb said. "That's down from a peak last night of about 18,000 customers so we have made progress. It was a tremendous storm and we've got more than 60 lines and poles down including some big transmission poles. I've been with the company for three years and this is by far the largest outage situation that I've dealt with."
A tree fell across Van Buren Street shutting down access to the Rattlesnake Valley by that route, Travis Welsh from the Missoula Police Department sent out an Emergency Travel Warning because of the downed power lines throughout town.
"Because of those areas where we have power lines down, they are so dangerous except what we know is there not charged at this time," Welsh said. "It's just not worth going out and trying to traverse them with a vehicle."
There were some good stories from the Storm, Missoula County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Brenda Bassett shared this story.
"It was pretty crazy, everything from down power lines in the river to fires starting up," Bassett said. "We have to tip our hats to the dispatch because they sailed in so many calls from the public. There was about a two acre fire that started up and the landowners had actually put out the entire fire by themselves which is pretty awesome that the people just kind of stepped up and did it themselves because the fire department I know they were strapped for people, and like I said we called in additional staff to stay on patrol. I think everyone handled it very well."
The damage from Monday’s storm still continue as nearly a dozen of lightning sparked fires were reported up and down the Bitterroot valley on Monday evening. Lightning from the storm is believed to have called 13.5 acre Scotty Brown Wildland fire near Ovando.