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

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 31, 2018

The Rattlesnake fire, burning about 10 miles northeast of Hot Springs, MT, August 31, 2018.
The Rattlesnake fire, burning about 10 miles northeast of Hot Springs, MT, August 31, 2018.

A new wildfire burning on western Montana’s Flathead Reservation serves as a good reminder that the 2018 fire season still has some life in it.

The nearly 1,100-acre Rattlesnake Fire is burning about 10 miles northeast of Hot Springs.

CT Camel is the incident’s spokesman.

“It started at about 1:00 in the afternoon yesterday in grass," Camel says. "It was pretty windy, and that wind aided the fire. It reached the slope in the Rattlesnake Gulch area. It’s burning in grass and timber on a steep, west-facing slope facing Highway 28.”

Camel says the Rattlesnake Fire is not threatening any structures.

Officials, however, describe its origins as "suspicious."

"It’s under investigation," Camel says. "It did start from a structure down below – an old barn. That’s about all I can tell you right now.”

Camel says over 100 firefighters; 3 helicopters and 7 Single Engine Air Tankers are battling the fire.

Despite the cooler temperatures and higher nighttime humidity, fire officials say it’s still warm and dry mid-day, and fires can take off on a moment’s notice. They urge anyone recreating in the outdoors this long holiday weekend to remain extremely careful with fire.

On the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest southwest of Ennis, officials say road closures in place due to the Monument and Wigwam fires will be lifted as of September 1. Fire crews and equipment remain in the area and travelers may encounter active fire and weakened trees.

In Glacier National Park, the 12,400-acre Howe Ridge and the 2,100-acre Boundary fires remain active. Mike Goicoechea’s Northern Rockies Type 1 Incident Management Team 1 assumed command of the fires as of 6 a.m. on Friday. 

Evacuation orders remain in place for the North McDonald Road, Lake McDonald Lodge area, private residences along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and Sprague Creek, Avalanche, and Fish Creek Campgrounds.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed between the foot of Lake McDonald (near Apgar) and Logan Pass. It remains open between St. Mary and Logan Pass. North McDonald and Fish Creek Roads are closed. The Inside North Fork Road is closed from Fish Creek to Logging Creek. Trail closures are associated with this fire; full trail closures are reflected on the park’s website at:

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