Fires across Montana received a fair helping of rain over the weekend, giving firefighters a hand.
Evacuations were lifted for the Horsefly Fire 13 miles east of Lincoln over the weekend. That fire was estimated at 50 percent contained and spanning 1,350 acres on Sunday.
The 429-acre Beeskove Fire North northeast of Missoula saw no growth over the weekend. More than 400 structures in Grant Creek have been assessed for threats from the Beeskove. Today, firefighters are measuring the intensity around the fire’s perimeter and improving fuel break areas.
Firefighters were temporarily relocated to a nearby school to take cover from harsh weather yesterday.
The Snow Creek Fire in the Bob Marshall Wilderness northeast of Condon slowed down over the weekend due to lower temperatures and a good amount of rain. Between 0.6 in and 0.8 in of rain dropped over the spread of the lightning-caused fire.
The Snow Creek Fire has been burning since August 2 and is now just over 1,800 acres. Fire behavior is expected to pick back up over the next few days of warmer, drier weather. The fire is currently not threatening any structures.
The practice of setting controlled blazes to lessen the impact of wildfires is not used in the American West as frequently as officials would like.
A study this year in the journal Fire found prescribed fires on federal lands in the region have stayed level or fallen despite calls for more.
Supporters say the burns are one of the most effective ways to make forests healthier by clearing undergrowth. They say the fire can stop or slow future blazes by removing fuels that help them spread.
There are plenty of reasons prescribed fires aren't employed as often as planned, including weather, air quality issues and bureaucratic hurdles.
And opponents point to prescribed fires that got out of control and turned deadly, contributions to global warming and say they aren't appropriate in some places.