ELMO — As of Monday, August 1, 2022, the Elmo Fire has burned an estimated 12,975 acres; the fire exploded Monday afternoon as heavy winds started pushing the fire east, forcing some residents to evacuate their homes immediately.
"The fire has turned and is running hard." That's what Lake County Sheriff Don Bell told MTN News on Monday after the fire took off near Dayton.
The evacuation notices include the Lake Mary Ronan corridor and Chief Cliff Estates near Black Lake Road. That area was in the most danger, according to Bell.
"The houses in the fire line, where the fire is running, those folks are all evacuated," said Sheriff Bell.
“We got up and checked this morning and it was still up on the hill side, and it has run pretty significantly in the last few hours," said Dayton resident Jeremy Gibbs.
Gibbs lives on Black Lake Road off Highway 93. Changing winds and fast-moving fire forced his family and neighbors to evacuate Monday afternoon.
“I just hope all of our neighbors were able to get out and get all of the very important things out because this is blowing up, it’s turning dire,” said Gibbs.
Northern Rockies Team 7 Public Information Officer Sara Rouse said conditions changed rapidly on Monday afternoon.
“This afternoon we had some winds come out of the west pushing the fire east and northeast from what we saw yesterday, and along with those winds we were unable to have our aircraft up at that time so it just sort of created this perfect culmination for some pretty active fire,” said Rouse.
Rouse said fire crews are attacking the fires edge utilizing aircraft as the number of personnel working on the fire continues to grow.
“Yesterday evening we had 293 people, again there are more resources rolling in throughout the day so that number will climb up tomorrow morning,” added Rouse.
Gibbs has lived in Dayton since 2017, and said he’s never seen a wildfire this close to home.
“I’ve never seen it burn over here; I’ve been in close proximity to other wildfires that have burned in recent years but never near my residence,” added Gibbs.
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