New Restrictions in Place as First Responders Work Together on Roaring Lion Fire
With intense growth of the Roaring Lion Fire on Tuesday to over 7,000 acres, Ravalli County Undersheriff Steve Holton says new restrictions are in place for homes in the Stage Two Evacuation area closest to the fire. These new restrictions will impact even the 60 or so homeowners who signed a waiver and chose to stay in the evacuation area.
"A real big concern right now is providing security to evacuated homes. We've kind of had to draw some hard lines and we are just not allowing anyone into those Stage Two evacuation areas. If they leave the evacuation area, we are not going to let people back into it, even with a waiver at this point."
Holton says they hope to loosen the restrictions on access as soon as possible and are reassessing the situation constantly.
Despite the chaos of the fire, Holton says firefighters and law enforcement are working together better than he’s ever seen.
"It's been an outstanding team effort," Holton said. "We're working very well with the fire department; Hamilton Fire and the Forest Service Operations Team. We've really been operating out of the same room. Last night, as they were doing structure protection we had deputies in the Stage Two areas doing a sweep of homes, knocking on doors and letting people know that the fire was really moving and that it was a good time to get out."
Neither the Stage Two or Stage One evacuation areas expanded while strong winds drove the fire over 7,000 acres Tuesday evening. Holton says they are considering issuing stage one evacuations to about 100 homes in the Lost Horse drainage if the fire cuts south.