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

Montana Wildfire Update For August 6, 2020

Montana Wildfire News

A wildfire 15 miles southwest of Miles City is spurring evacuations. That’s according to a tweet Thursday afternoon from the Bureau of Land Management. According to the BLM tweet, the Pumpkin Fire was reported around 1 p.m. Thursday and is estimated at 2,500 acres. A BLM spokesperson says 50 structures, including 16 homes are threatened, and evacuations are underway. According to the City of Miles City facebook page, Tongue River road south of town is closed to all but emergency traffic.

The cause of the nearly 2,300 acre Falling Star Fire in Stillwater County has been traced back to a resident using power tools on a fence. Stillwater County Sheriff Chip Kem says the fire that burned timber and grass and is 100 percent contained. It's  being called accidental with no criminal intent. Kem has not seen the report but has been in close contact with Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder, whose officers conducted the investigation of the ignition point along the border between Stillwater and Yellowstone counties.  

Fire activity on the 129 acre Old Baldy Fire east of Twin Bridges was concentrated Wednesday on the interior of the existing fire perimeter.  Hotshot crews working the fire, which is burning in the Tobacco Root Mountains in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, made good progress along the eastern and western edges. Firefighters anticipate an increasing chance of thunderstorms Thursday and a cold front that could produce erratic winds and frequent lightning. The lightning-caused fire is 10 percent contained.

Smoke is visible from I-90 due to a .25 acre lightning-caused fire discovered off Rock Creek road east of Missoula Thursday morning. According to an update on the Lolo National Forest Facebook page, seven firefighters are on scene and a helicopter is conducting bucket drops to cool hot spots as firefighters work to build containment line.

Little activity was reported on the Magpie Rock Fire near Dixon. Some smokejumpers and hotshot crews have been released, and 270 people continue to work the fire, which is estimated at around 3,500 acres and 62 percent contained.

The Horse Creek 2 Fire in Big Horn County is now reported as 100 percent contained after burning nearly 1,700 acres.

The National Weather Service has issued a red-flag warning, which indicates imminent critical fire weather, for Friday afternoon and evening for north central, central and part of northeast Montana because of an increased chance of lightning combined with gusty winds and low relative humidity. The Service says lightning activity will increase Thursday with thunderstorms which will primarily be accompanied by localized wetting rain. But dry, windy conditions Friday could fan any hold-over ignitions and cause them to spread rapidly.

Currently most of south central, western and some of northwest Montana is under stage 1 fire restrictions or county burn bans are in place for much of the state  until further notice due to hot, dry weather conditions.

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