The Magpie Rock Fire is now burning an estimated 3,100 acres 8 miles west of Dixon, according to Sanders County Wildland Fire Information. That’s up from 2,500 acres reported by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of Fire Thursday morning.
According to officials, 287 firefighters are battling the blaze in steep, rocky terrain.
“(They’re) trying to watch out for rolling debris, rocks, logs that have broken loose,” Magpie Rock Fire information officer C.T. Camel said.
Recent hot, dry weather and wind have increased fire activity and added another challenge to fighting the blaze.
“Everything is drying out,” Camel said of fuels in the surrounding area. “We haven’t had very good recoveries at night.”
Firefighters first arrived at the Magpie Rock Fire on Monday. Since then, Camel said they’ve been building containment line. They also completed a backburn operation near Highway 200 and Revais Creek.
KECI-TV NBC 13 Missoula
VIDEO: Levi Brinegar says, just over four years ago, he was working in a Pennsylvania steel mill when he got an email that changed everything for him.
“It was like, ‘Live on top of a mountain by yourself, spot fires,’” he said. “And I’m like, ‘Yes, please!’” Since 2016, Brinegar has made his home for the summer at the Stonewall Mountain Lookout, a wood and cinder block tower located about 6 miles north of Lincoln. He is one of a small number of people who work three months of the year watching Montana’s mountains for the first signs of wildfires.
At an elevation of 8270 feet, Brinegar is more than an hour away from town by four-wheeler.
“I came from working at a steel mill, around millions of people, to population: 1,” he said.
A lookout’s workday revolves around checking the horizons for columns of smoke.
KBZK-TV CBS 7 Bozeman
Fort Belknap Fire Management and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have confirmed that a fire is burning in the Little Rockies near Cow Creek in the Missouri Breaks, about 6 miles off the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation.
BLM Lewistown Duty Officer Don Pyrah said the initial call to dispatch for the fire was at about 8:30 a.m. and the bureau still has initial attack resources fighting the fire.
Pyrah said this includes four engines, two helicopters, two water tenders, as well as firefighting aircraft and several local department engines.
“They’re working hard to get a line around it,” he said.
He said the last estimate they had for the size of the fire was 50 acres, but more estimates will be available as the situation continues.
Havre Daily News
The Lolo National Forest protection area received over 300 lightning strikes from Wednesday night’s storms, prompting fire officials to be on the alert for potential new wildfires starts.
Firefighters have contained two small lightning-caused fires on the Missoula and Ninemile Ranger Districts.
Although firefighters were able to effectively contain and control these fires, the Lolo National Forest officials are reminding people to remain vigilant and cautious with the persistent hot and dry weather forecasted over the weekend.
KPAX-TV CBS/CW+ 8 Missoula
A plane crashed in the mountain range of Madison County between Big Sky and Ennis Lake with three people on board.
According to a Federal Aviation Adminsitration Preliminary Accident report the plane was a Cessna 337F fixed wing multi-engine aircraft that crashed under unknown circumstances.
The plane left Helena on Thursday morning.
Search and Rescue teams located the crash site around 3 p.m. in the mountainous terrain in southwest Montana.
One passenger has died and the other two were both life flighted and are being treated. One injured passenger went to East Idaho Regional Medical Center and the other to Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital.
KECI-TV NBC 13 Missoula