FRENCHTOWN — (UPDATE - 2:30 p.m.) The Frenchtown Rural Fire Department (FRFD) along with the Missoula Rural Fire District responded to this fire off Mullan Road close to Frenchtown Elementary School shortly after 2 a.m. Monday.
“The hay barn full of hay, actually just from about a week ago, so roughly 6000 bales well possibly a little bit more hay, a few tractors as well some heavy machinery and some farming equipment that was also involved with this fire," Mel Holtz spokesman Mel Holtz told MTN News.
All of it was a total loss.
Following an active Fourth of July evening, the probable cause shouldn’t come as a surprise. “Presumably believed to be fireworks although we’re still investigating that," Holtz said.
This fire was just part of a busy night for Frenchtown firefighters. Holtz says calls came in throughout the night.
“So, a total of seven there was an eighth that came in we were unable to help Missoula Rural out just because we were busy between all the way out from Alberton all the way to the Wye. We had fires and everywhere in between last night.”
He says that they’re always prepared for an active Fourth of July night, but he says this year their concern was even higher than most years due to exceptionally hot and dry weather.
“It’s definitely scaring us the conditions are really dry across the state especially with 100+ degree heat that we had, 90 to 100° heat that we’ve had this last week things are really going to dry out quickly so we just urge everyone out there to use caution," Holtz advised.
Holtz added that most years July 5th is also busy as folks get rid of the fireworks that they didn’t use on the Fourth of July and he says he hopes of people see examples like this and don’t light those fireworks off.
(1st REPORT, 12:19 p.m.)
Crews are on the scene of a fire that has been burning in Frenchtown.
The Frenchtown Rural Fire District (FRFD) is working on a blaze that broke out on Bidlake Court near the elementary school.
FRFD spokesman Mel Holtz told MTN News a structure holding 6,000 bales of hay caught on fire shortly after 2 a.m. on Monday.
Farm equipment, the structure itself, and the entire bales of hay all we’re lost.
Holtz says while the cause of the blaze has not been officially determined, it appears that fireworks sparked the fire.
Local fire crews responded to seven calls between 10 p.m. Sunday and 2 a.m. including the fire off of Mullan Road.
FRFD notes in a social media post that "it remains dry out and conditions are getting worse with the recent heat."
- information from Russ Thomas included in this report.