UPDATE 4:15 p.m. Monday, August 19
Mandatory evacuations are in effect in the Bear Creek area as two fires, the School House and the West Fork 2, are combining to burn hundreds of acres and send smoke billowing up over Blue Mountain raining ash on homes in Lolo and into Missoula.
Missoula County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer paige Pavalone said at about 4 p.m. Monday, that deputies were contacting residents in the path of the fires to leave their homes immediately.
"We're asking people if they're asked by a deputy to evacuate, to leave their homes right away, recover their animals and leave as quickly as possible," Pavalone said.
The Missoula County Sheriff's Office Facebook page has a minute-by-minute update of areas that are under evacuation. Just moments ago, the notice was posted that Bear Creek, Elk Meadows, Lolo Creek Campground, Sleeman Creek and Thayer Road have been advised to evacuate, and that the Lolo Elementary School has been opened as a place for evacuees to gather.
There will be a special meeting for residents in the area at the Travelers' Rest State Park at 6 p.m. Monday.
The smoke billowing above Missoula on Monday, August 19 comes mostly from the Schoolhouse Fire, currently burning about nine miles west of Lolo.