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

Evacuation Orders Expand As Fire South Of Red Lodge Grows to 21,000 Acres

Update 06/16/21, 9:30 a.m.

The Robertson Draw Fire burning south of Red Lodge along the eastern edge of the Beartooth Front has grown to 21,000 acres, according to the latestInciWeb postWednesday morning.

An update from the Custer Gallatin National Forest at 10 p.m. Tuesday night said evacuation orders now cover the area south of Highway 308 from Red Lodge to Highway 72, and east of Highway 72 to the Wyoming border. The order excludes the towns of Belfry and Bearcreek. Bearcreek is under an evacuation warning, meaning residents should be prepared to evacuate if necessary.

Also under evacuation orders are the area west of Meeteetse Trail Road, and the east side of Highway 212 from Meeteetse Trail Road to Westminster Spires Church Camp.

A shelter for evacuees is available at the Red Lodge Community Church on South Broadway Avenue. The Red Cross is setting up another shelter at the Red Lodge Veteran Memorial Civic Center.

The Beartooth Humane Alliance is offering temporary shelter for cats, dogs, horses and other pets.

In an interview around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Fire Information Officer Billy Chapman said the smoke plume of the fire had grown significantly.

“It's fairly large at the moment, coming up over the whole eastern side of town. I actually can't see the flames anymore [garbled] but earlier you could see flames up on the eastern side of Mount Maurice,” Chapman said.

Additional resources have been ordered and are expected to arrive Wednesday.

Early Wednesday morning, the Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs. According to a FEMA press release, the Robertson Draw Fire was threatening 450 homes at the time of the assistance request.

The fire started June 13.

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