Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - On June 26, 2024, at approximately 6:56 PM, the Missoula Fire Department (MFD) was dispatched to a wildland fire near Parkland Drive in Grant Creek. According to Battalion Chief Jeff Kroll, a caller reported that a lightning strike caused the fire.  

“Engine 142 arrived on scene and identified a slow-burning fire, spanning approximately 1/10 of an acre and was located about a half mile into the wildland area of Grant Creek,” Kroll said. “ MFD crews from Engines 113 and 142 immediately began creating a fire line around the perimeter to contain the fire.” 

At about 8:30 PM, the fire was successfully contained thanks to the crews' swift and coordinated efforts.  

“Notably, a large Ponderosa pine was found burning and was carefully managed during the operation,” Kroll said. “At this time, additional support from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) arrived on scene. DNRC crews were briefed by MFD and assumed command of the incident.” 

Kroll said engines 113 and 142 were cleared from the site at around 9:15 PM.  

“The incident was named the Sturdy Boy Fire as a tribute to the first arriving crew on scene,” Kroll said. “No injuries were reported, and the quick response and effective containment ensured minimal damage to the surrounding wildland.” 

Kroll reminded residents to remain vigilant and report any signs of wildfire immediately. 

“As we continue through wildfire season, cooperation and awareness are key to preventing larger incidents,” Kroll said. “If you live in wildland areas, ensure that your home is properly maintained to ensure safety for you and your loved ones. For further information and how to prepare for wildland fire season, visit our website."

Read More: Missoula Fireworks: Rules, Safety Tips, & Celebrating Responsibly

As our vegetation continues to dry out and we increasingly enjoy our outdoors, DNCR said we all must do our part to prevent wildfire sparks.  

“We cannot control the lightning, but 70% of wildfires in the Missoula area are human-caused and those are 100% preventable,” said Community Preparedness & Fire Prevention Specialist Kristin Mortenson. “Please have a fun and safe 4th of July. Remember to prevent sparks and call 9-1-1 to report wildfires.” 

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Gallery Credit: Michael Foth

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