THOMPSON FALLS — Pre-evacuation warnings are in effect for the Harlow and Ashley areas near the Thorne Creek fire that’s burned 5,627 acres near Thompson Falls.
Additionally, the areas under an evacuation order are described as “residences from Cougar Creek south to the intersection of Blue Slide Road and River View Lane, on the east side of Blue Slide Road in Graves North and South.”
Sanders County Sheriff's deputies went door-to-door Sunday making notifications and security measures are in place to protect private property.
The Montana Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at the Thompson Falls Community Center.
Residents who check in will have access to services including a safe place to stay, meals, and other community resources. All Red Cross services are free. Families also can request Red Cross services by calling 800-272-6668.
The Red Cross is offering tips to stay safe in the event of a wildfire:
- Gather your family or household members and delegate responsibilities.
- Assemble an emergency kit to take with you when you evacuate.
- Prepare an information kit with important documents like medical, banking and insurance records.
- Save a list of emergency numbers on every cellphone.
- Plan ahead for your pets and livestock. Ask local officials where you can bring them.
- Identify a place to meet in case you are separated.
- Plan and practice several evacuation routes from your neighborhood.
If an evacuation is imminent:
- Tune in to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
- Limit exposure to smoke and dust. Keep indoor air clean by closing (but not locking) windows and doors. Close curtains, shutters, and blinds. Use the recycle mode on your air conditioner.
- Turn on exterior lights.
- Remove flammable items from decks and porches.
- Open gates for animals that cannot be evacuated.
- Connect a hose to an outside spigot, mark any water sources on your property, and leave a ladder for firefighters.
- Put your emergency kit in your car. Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape, with windows closed and keys in the ignition.
- Put your best driver at the wheel. Turn on lights, drive slowly and watch out for emergency vehicles.
- Evacuate as soon as the order is given. Don’t delay.
Firefighting crews have established an anchor point at Graves Creek.
Helicopters will be used as necessary to support firefighting on the ground but fire managers note that without firefighters in the ground to guide aircraft and follow up with hand and tool work, dropping water or retardant is not effective, as it will just dry up.