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

Northwestern Energy: Downed power line may have sparked the West Wind Fire

transformers on the electric pole and wire
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Transformers on the electric pole and wire, stock photo.

The West Wind Fire in Fergus County is still zero percent contained but was showing minimal fire activity today.

A County Assist team from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation took command of firefighting Thursday. Enhanced mapping shows the size of the fire as 10,644 acres, down from an earlier estimate.

Crews continue to secure lines around the perimeter and extinguish any hot spots. Initial assessments show the blaze destroyed 25 primary residences, 18 secondary structures and 6 commercial properties.

A power line belonging to NorthWestern Energy may have been the cause the fire.

A NorthWestern Energy spokesperson said late Thursday that the utility is helping investigate the possibility that a strong wind event downed a line southwest of Denton and started the West Wind fire.

The fire was first reported Tuesday, Nov. 30. DNRC says the cause of the fire is under investigation.

There will be a public meeting concerning the West Wind Fire Saturday at 10 a.m. at Denton High School.

Copyright 2021 Yellowstone Public Radio. To see more, visit Yellowstone Public Radio.

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.
Kayla Desroches reports for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed in the city for college, where she hosted a radio show that featured serialized dramas like the Shadow and Suspense. In her pathway to full employment, she interned at WNYC in New York City and KTOO in Juneau, Alaska. She then spent a few years on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where she transitioned from reporter to news director before moving to Montana.
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