LANESBOROUGH -- Two local firefighters dispatched to fight blazes in Montana will be staying through the middle of this week to assist, according to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Cousins Max and Jonathan LaCasse have apparently been busy since shipping out to Missoula on Aug. 14 to join an early response team tasked with preventing forest fires in the 2 million-acre Lolo National Forest.
The two had their trip home Wednesday, Aug. 28 prevented by "a lot of activity" and the need for additional resources in the forest, according to DCR Chief Fire Warden Dave Celino.
Fires from lightning strikes are the team's greatest concern. Dry conditions in the forest have created conditions particularly conducive to "lightning starts."
"I got a briefing from those guys ... and they had another [storm] system come through that dropped a bunch of lightning in their area," Celino said.
He added, "We received a request from the Lolo National Forest fire management crew asking if we can extend the stay of our crew. We told them we could do that."
The LaCasses were among 22 state and municipal firemen tapped by DCR's Bureau of Forest Fire Control and Forestry for the cause. Both had undergone vigorous training to qualify for such a project. Max is participating for the third time and it's Jonathan's first trip.
Celino said the team was in "100 percent great shape."