Montana Public Radio

Evacuation Orders Lifted For Wildfire South Of Helena

Jun 14, 2020

Updated 3:45 p.m., June 14

The evacuation order for Sheep Mountain residents has been lifted, according to a Facebook post from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff's office says those residents and others in the area of the Lump Gulch Fire in north Jefferson County near Sheep Mountain should remain prepared to evacuate.

The areas that remain under pre-evacuation orders include: Sheep Mountain, Ohio Gulch, Travis Gulch, Davis Gulch, Blue Sky Heights, Forest Park Estates, Jackson Creek, Tucker Gulch, Holmes Gulch, Lump Gulch, and Unionville.

All pre-evacuation orders in Lewis and Clark County have been lifted, but the Sheriff's office says anyone in the area who feels unsafe is advised to evacuate. DNRC is asking the public to stay clear of the area.

The Lump Gulch Fire is burning an estimated 1,500 acres south of Helena. According to the DNRC, "the fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain with heavy dead and down timber." The fire is 0 percent contained. A Type 3 incident management team moved onto the fire Sunday. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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Updated 8:35 p.m., June 13

A wind-driven wildfire has prompted mandatory evacuations west of Clancy in Jefferson County. Clancy Fire Information Officer Pat McKelvey says the fire was first reported Saturday afternoon and is pushing northeast.

“We’re trying to get a handle on its size. The last report I had was 200 acres, but it’s grown with 30 to 40 mile-per-hour winds are pushing it pretty rapidly.”

McKelvey says winds are pushing the fire to the northeast towards Lewis and Clark County. Several homes in the Little Buffalo Creek area have been evacuated.

“We do have some mandatory evacs in our area here right now. I’m estimating maybe 20-25 homes at this point. We’re doing structure protection, but we don’t have any that are directly threatened by the fire right now.”

Firefighters from Clancy, Montana City, Forest Service and DNRC are battling the fire. He expects more crews will be called in to assist before morning. It’s not known how the fire started, but McKelvey says several lighting strikes have been recorded over the past several nights. The Red Cross has established a shelter at the La Quinta Inn in Helena for anyone who needs assistance. The Lewis and Clark County Health Department says local air quality is poor and advises residents to stay indoors.

Update: This information come from Lewis and Clark County/City of Helena 911 Center:

"While many resources are working on the wildfire burning in the Lump Gulch/Sheep Mountain area, the Lewis and Clark Sheriff’s office is issuing a pre-evacuation notice for several areas. Pre-evacuation means gather what you want to take with you and be prepared to leave should an evacuation be needed. The areas under pre-evacuation notice are: Unionville and surrounding areas: Upper Grizzly Gulch Holmes Gulch Tucker Gulch Dry Gulch Brooklyn Bridge to the North If you do not feel safe, we advise you leave and not wait for an evacuation notice. Please call the Lewis and Clark County public information line for updates: 406-447-1605."

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