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

Helena-Area Fire Evac. Warnings Lifted; Powder River County Fire Grows

Fire hose.

Pre-evacuation notices were lifted Tuesday for about 20 homes threatened by the Lump Gulch Fire burning south of Helena in Jefferson County. Strong winds caused the fire to grow quickly this weekend.

John Tubbs, Director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, says he doesn't know how those homes were spared.

"I don’t quite know how this fire found its way to burn what it burned — 1,500 acres — and not burn its way through a subdivision."

The estimated size of the fire was dropped to 1,100 acres Monday due to better mapping. 135 fire personnel are assigned to the fire from a variety of organizations including the DNRC and the U.S. Forest Service.

The Lump Gulch Fire is 25 percent contained and so far has cost $350,000 to fight. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

In southeast Montana, firefighters are working to protect 10 structures, including a residence and ranch buildings, from the Fire Gulch Fire burning in Powder River County.

Sage-grouse habitat is also threatened by the nearly 1,300 acre fire burning in timber, brush and tall grass 16 miles southwest of Ashland.

The lightning caused fire was first reported Monday on private land, and was 30 percent contained this morning. Some 28 personnel are currently combating the wildfire that’s cost $35,000 to date.

400 fires have been reported in Montana this year, according to DNRC. 16 fires remain uncontained.

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Nicky is MTPR's Flathead-area reporter.
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