Montana News

Monday, August 3, 2020

Wildfire near Park City burning between 500 & 1,000 acres, 100 homes evacuated

VIDEO: About 100 homes were evacuated after the Falling Star fire burned between 500 and 1,000 acres near Park City in Stillwater County Sunday, according to Carol Arkell, Stillwater County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator. The fire is burning near two subdivisions near Falling Star Trail and Benedict Gulch Road, Arkel told MTN News at around 7:30 p.m. Fire crews were still doing structure protection and were not allowing evacuated residents back to their homes earlier in the evening. Arkell didn't know when evacuated people would be allowed back to their homes. The fire was expected to burn throughout the night and Arkell said firefighters expected the blaze to cross Valley Creek Road. Benedict Gulch Road and Valley Creek Road were closed to through traffic for most of the day. It is not known if any structures have been damaged.
KPAX-TV CBS/CW+ 8 Missoula

Massive fire extinguished at Columbia Falls apartment building

A multiplex apartment building on Fourth Avenue West was ruined by an afternoon fire Sunday in Columbia Falls, but no one was injured. The exact cause of the fire was still under investigation Monday, but it’s considered accidental in nature, Columbia Falls Fire Chief Karl Weeks said. The fire started just before 2 p.m. in apartment No. 3. The building had nine units total. There is a 10th apartment, but it was in a separate building. The explosions people heard were fireworks and ammunition going off after the fire started, Weeks said. Resident Brandon Beland said he was sitting on his couch when he saw a neighbor running around in the yard. The neighbor said the apartment building was on fire. He said he heard banging from an apartment above his. He then heard that there was a dog left in an apartment and the owner wasn’t home. He charged upstairs, ran through the door and saved the dog, a pug named Shadow.
Hungry Horse News

Magpie Rock Fire burnout operation a success

Crews continue to battle hot, dry weather and dry fuels as they work to contain the Magpie Rock Fire located on the Flathead on the Flathead Reservation near Dixon. The wildfire grew to 3,539 acres and is about 39% contained, according to a Sunday report from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Division of Fire. Crews successfully conducted an aerial burnout operation with a Type III helicopter and continued to make progress on mopping up. Mop-up efforts will continue where it is safe to do so. Three hundred and thirty personnel are assigned to the Magpie Rock Fire. No structures are threated at this time. Road closures on forest roads D-6,000 and D-5,000 remain in effect.
Kalispell Daily Interlake

Metal shed catches fire at residence in Lockwood

VIDEO: One Lockwood homeowner lost a metal shed tonight after solvents used to work on a car outside caught fire and tore through the structure. The fire spread quickly to the shed, which housed welding materials and car parts. Soon, 15-foot high flames could be seen from the property on Dickie Road. Nobody was injured, but officials estimated 100-thousand dollars worth of damage was done. Lockwood Fire Chief John Staley said Billings, Shepherd, and Worden crews assisted to put out the blaze.
KTVQ-TV CBS 2 Billings

Friday, July 31, 2020

Magpie Rock Fire tops 3,000 acres

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

Montana fire lookouts: Alone on a peak to watch for wildfires

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

Fire burning in Little Rockies

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

Recent lightning storms spark Bestwick and Granite wildfires on the Lolo National Forest

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

One dead, two being treated after airplane crashes in Madison County

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

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