National Guard deploys to help contain massive wildfire in the Pacific Northwest

National Guard deploys to help contain massive wildfire in the Pacific Northwest
The Montana National Guard was flown into Lolo to help with a fire that has burned 47 square miles over the last month. (David McNew/Getty Images)

The Montana National Guard was sent on Saturday to Lolo, just 12 miles west of Missoula, to help contain a massive wildfire.

The 155 soldiers are monitoring 35 security checkpoints south of Missoula where an evacuation order is in effect, the Associated Press reported. They relieved law enforcement officers from the checkpoints so they could return to regular duties.

“We’ve been preparing for this fire for the last three weeks and we’re getting tired. It will be good to get our guys home so they can get some sleep,” Ravalli County Sheriff Steve Holton said in anticipation of the crew’s arrival, the Missoulian reported.

According to the Associated Press, 44 square miles of wooded, mountain terrain has burned, which is estimated to be roughly 27,906, the Missoulian reported.

As of now, two homes and several buildings have been destroyed.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock declared fire emergency for the state, which authorizes the state’s National Guard to help with fire efforts wherever they are needed.

The fire started on July 15 when lightning struck.

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