Emergency crews from several Mission Valley communities were dispatched to a large tire fire early Friday morning.

KERR Radio's Jeff Smith said the fire is reminiscent of a blaze that occurred near the same area in 2001.

"You may remember a massive tire fire at the Tire Depot between Polson and Pablo," Smith said. "Luckily at the time the EPA had specialized equipment they were using in Libby to mitigate the asbestos problem, so they were able to use bulldozers to extinguish that fire. We may have that same scenario again."

Smith said the fire was reported at about 5:35 Friday morning.

"The fire is sending thick, black smoke high into the Mission Valley sky," he said. "The good news is, there don't seem to be any structures affected by this, it's just a pile of tires. As you know, tires can throw a lot of smoke up into the air. As far as getting this fire extinguished, we could be looking at the same scenario we had back in 2001 and it could take several days."

Smith said crews from several agencies are on the scene and more are on the way.

"There are resources from the Ronan Volunteer Fire Department, along with Polson City and Polson Rural Fire departments at the scene," Smith said. "I can imagine that crews from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will respond as this fire continues to burn."

There is no word yet on how the fire started, and traffic on U.S. Highway 93 North does not seem to be affected.


Photo courtesy of Joel Morrisson