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Helicopter Accident Leaves One Dead Near Thompson Falls

KGVO News has learned that a helicopter crash-landed near Thompson Falls in Sanders County and one person was killed.

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retardant drop
Photo courtesy of Cococino National Forest/flickr.com
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UPDATE – West Mullan Fire Over 4,000 Acres – Evacuation Center Opened [AUDIO]

UPDATE - 8:00 a. m. Friday, July 19.

The Mineral County Sheriff's Department has evacuated over 100 homes near the West Mullan Fire. The American Red Cross has opened an emergency evacuation center at the Superior Elementary School. Strong winds have pushed the fire to over 4,000 acres. The fire was discovered last Sunday, and the cause is still under investigation.

 

UPDATE - 2:00 a.m. Thursday, July 18, the following report is from the Inciweb.org, released at about 9:00 p.m. Wednesday.

The West Mullan fire remained active overnight. Crews were able to make additional progress on suppression activities above the residential areas north of West Mullan Road. The suppression line along Pardee Creek on the west side was strengthened with some burnout operations between the line and the fire. Several small spot fires occurred on the south side with upslope spread of the fire. Spotting is also detected on the east flank toward the Flat Creek drainage. These spots are up high on the mountain. Today, firefighters will continue line construction above Pardee Creek to tie in with an existing road. Crews will look for opportunities to construct line and attack the fire directly on East flank. An existing road on the northeast side will be prepared to serve as a contingency line. On the south side of the fire above residences, mopup of hot spots in the burned area will take place. Local fire departments are providing structure protection.

Residences north of Clark Fork River in Superior are under mandatory evacuation. West Mullan and East Mullan Road from Sunflower Lane to Big Eddy and side roads in between, are now under mandatory evacuation. Flat Creek Road is also under this evacuation order.

Pat McKelvey, Fire Information Officer

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has closed a five-mile section of the Clark Fork River near Superior so that water can be safely drawn from the river by helicopters fighting the West Mullan fire.

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Helicopter In River
Photo Courtesy of Emily Adamson NBC Montana
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Helicopter Splashes Down Into Clark Fork River Near Missoula

A spokesman for the of the Missoula County Sheriff's Department has reported that a helicopter was forced to land in the Clark Fork River.

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