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

A fire in Helena's north hills forced evacuations Thursday afternoon

The Black Sandy Fire burning in the hills north of Helena prompted about 30 households to evacuate this afternoon.

As of around 6 p.m., the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff's Office says the 8-acre fire is under control.

The sheriff says evacuations remain in effect east of 3485 Overland Road, where crews are mopping up. All other evacuations have been lifted.

The sheriff's office told residents around 3 p.m. that everyone east of 3485 Overland Road should evacuate.

The fire was first reported to dispatch just after 1 p.m.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

The Hog Trough fire east of Hamilton nearly doubled in size overnight and was burning about 500 acres as of 11:30 this morning. The fire is pushing east due to winds which are forecasted to hit 20 to 30 miles per hour over the next two days. Rocky, steep terrain is keeping firefighters away from the flames, but a type one helicopter dropped water on its eastern edge today.

The Black Mountain fire sparked yesterday just southwest of Missoula and is currently burning 17.5 acres and is 5% contained. Campers and recreationalists were evacuated from the area but there are no threats to homes or structures at this time, according to Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

Firefighters on the scene include two hand crews, four engines, a helicopter and three air tankers. The fire was human caused and a full investigation is ensuing. This is a PR.

Fireline probes the causes and consequences of the increasingly devastating wildfires burning in the U.S. It taps into the experience of firefighters, tribal land managers, climate scientists and more to understand how we got here and where we're going.

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