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

Montana wildfire update for October 07, 2021

Montana Wildfire News

Cooler temperatures in the 50s to low 60s and higher humidity are helping firefighters contain the South Moccasin Fire burning northwest of Lewistown in Fergus County.

The nearly 13,000 acre fire is about 45 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon. The County Assist Team from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation reports interior pockets of heavy timber and short grass will continue to burn, sending up smoke plumes visible from Lewistown and the surrounding areas. The southeastern edge of the fire remains the most active area.

The Northern Rockies Coordination Center (NRCC) reports 33 structures are threatened by the fire. Five structures have been destroyed, including Yellowstone Public Radio’s transmitter for the Stanford-Lewistown area, but no homes have been destroyed.

Montana Highway 81, the Denton Highway, remains closed to all but local residents.

The cause of the South Moccasin Fire remains under investigation.

In southeast Montana the Coal Bank Fire burning 18 miles southwest of Ashland in Rosebud County continues to grow. It’s now estimated at 6,100 acres and zero percent contained. Multiple agencies totaling 112 personnel are on scene.

NRCC reports 13 structures are threatened but none have been destroyed.

The Coal Bank Fire was first reported Tuesday morning and was started by a coal seam.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.