- Associated Press - Monday, August 1, 2016

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - The Latest on a fire burning southwest of Hamilton (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

At least 14 homes were destroyed by a fast-moving wildfire southwest of Hamilton.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman said Monday night that his office is still trying to contact all of the affected homeowners, and evacuations remain in place because of the active fire.

The Roaring Lion Fire blew up quickly after it started on Sunday afternoon due to strong winds and heavy concentrations of fuel in the area. It has scorched about 5.5 square miles so far.

Cooler weather overnight helped settle things down, but heavy smoke prevented helicopters and tankers from aiding firefighting efforts Monday.

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3:15 p.m.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday in western Montana, including the Hamilton area, where the Roaring Lion Fire has displaced residents, burned homes and filled the valley with smoke.

The weather service is expecting winds of 20 to 30 mph with possible ridge top winds from 25 to 35 mph and gusts up to 40 mph and possibly 50 mph in some areas.

A public information meeting about the 5.5-square-mile fire in the Bitterroot National Forest is set for 7 p.m. Monday at the First Interstate Center at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds.

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11:05 a.m.

Officials with the Bitterroot National Forest are confirming that some homes have been lost to a fast-moving wildfire southwest of Hamilton in western Montana.

Forest spokesman Tod McKay says officials want to confirm whose homes are involved before releasing a definite number or location.

The fire blew up quickly after it started on Sunday afternoon due to strong winds and heavy concentrations of fuel in the area.

Cooler weather overnight helped settle things down. However, heavy smoke is preventing helicopters and tankers from aiding firefighting efforts on Monday.

McKay says there are 150 firefighters on the ground and they worked overnight to build containment lines along the east side of the fire, where the homes are.

He said it was amazing that hundreds of residents got out of the area, with their animals, without anyone getting hurt.

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8:45 a.m.

The residents of about 500 homes have been evacuated or are under an evacuation warning while some structures have been lost to a fast-moving wildfire in the Bitterroot National Forest in western Montana.

Forest officials say the fire started Sunday afternoon and had burned nearly 5.5 square miles by Monday morning. Temperatures are expected to rise to around 90 degrees on Monday

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but forest spokesman Tod McKay says there has not been any lightning in the area.

Five helicopters and a retardant tanker joined rural fire crews in the initial attack. Crews planned to work Monday to get containment lines around threatened houses.

Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman says some structures have been burned, but he was not sure how many and what kind. McKay says he heard propane tanks exploding.

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