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

Montana wildfire update for October 18, 2021

Montana Wildfire News

An 8 acre wildfire just north of the Blacktail Ski Area in the Flathead Valley was sparked early Monday morning.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation says the Patrick Creek Fire is threatening multiple homes, and pre-evacuation warnings are in place. Officials are asking people to stay away from the area.

The fire is burning through grass, brush and timber on both private and state lands. Two helicopters, one excavator and nearly 50 personnel are working the blaze.

DNRC officials say the cause is still under investigation, and are urging the public to take caution when burning as conditions for rapid growth of wildfires still exist.

The Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest has returned to Stage 1 fire restrictions for the Rocky Mountain Ranger District and the Scapegoat Wilderness in the Lincoln Ranger District because of two new human-caused fires reported on Saturday. Stage 1 restrictions prohibit smoking, and building, maintaining or using a fire, except in designated areas.

In a Facebook post, forest officials report the human-caused Elk Creek Fire in the Sawmill drainage has been contained by lining the one-and-a-half acre fire with water hoses.

Helicopters, air tankers and hotshot crews have stopped the 10-acre Falls Creek Fire from advancing towards homes in the Dearborn corridor.

A fire information officer with the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest reports the latest fires bring the number of human-caused fires in the last month to six. Hunters and other recreationalists in the forest are being urged to make sure fires are cold to the touch before leaving them unattended.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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.