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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Weather Helps Firefighters Progress On Cabin Gulch Fire

Firefighters building fire line.
File photo of fire fighters building fire line.

The Cabin Gulch Fire east of Townsend is still being called 15 percent contained, although Public Information Officer Mariah Leuschen says the percentage will be greater when fire officials update numbers this evening.

"Today firefighters have been making good progress on the Cabin Gulch Fire. Overnight we did receive some light rain, it wasn’t really a soaking rain, but it allowed fuel moistures in those finer grasses to come up. And then woke up with cloud cover and lower temperatures, and higher relative humidities, really allowing those firefighters to make some good progress," Leuschen said.

Highway 12 through the fire area is now open, but limited to one lane with pilot cars due to road construction.

Meanwhile, one person has been arrested in connection with the Cabin Gulch Fire burning east of Townsend. Broadwater County Attorney Cory Swanson says Robert Alexander Norman was arrested yesterday in Park County.

Authorities have lifted the evacuation order for about 40 homes in the area that had been threatened by the Cabin Gulch fire. The official estimate of the fire’s size has been reduced to 2  1/2 square miles due to better mapping.
Fire officials report good progress on the fire today, and expect later today to increase their estimate of how much of the fire is contained beyond the 15 percent figure given this morning.

Eric Whitney is NPR's Mountain West/Great Plains Bureau Chief, and was the former news director for Montana Public Radio.
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