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

Firefighters make progress on Matt Staff, Elmo fires

Fire managers at the Elmo Fire incident command post study a large map showing an overview of the Elmo's Fire area , August 4, 2022.
Josh Burnham
Fire managers at the Elmo Fire incident command post study a map showing the Elmo's Fire's perimeter, August 4, 2022. Evacuations remain in place in the area.

Firefighters are working to contain the Matt Staff Fire burning east of Helena. The fire broke out in a grassy area off Highway 12 Thursday afternoon. The fire has burned over 1,500 acres and is still active but suppressed, according to the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff.

Evacuations remain in place for residents on the West Shore Drive area south of the Lewis & Clark Day Use area and Jimmy Green Road in Broadwater County. Matt Staff Road remains closed to the public and is open only for residents.

The Tri-Lakes Fire Station will hold a public meeting Friday at 7 p.m. at the fire station on 3200 Spokane Creek Road.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s office has an information line available at 406-447-8305.

According to Inciweb, The Elmo Fire experienced limited growth Thursday bringing the fire to 21,182 acres. Firefighters kept the fire south of Lake Mary Ronan and containment increased to 15% as firefighters cleaned up fireline around the perimeter.

The evacuation orders affecting roughly 150 homes remain in place for all residents residing north and south of Hwy 352 (Lake Mary Ronan Road) and all residents who live along Lake Mary Ronan. All prior evacuation orders and pre-evacuation warnings are still effect.

There will be a public meeting Friday at 7 p.m. at the Elmo Pow Wow Grounds.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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