Montana Public Radio

Montana Wildfire Update For August 2, 2020

Aug 2, 2020

On Sunday afternoon, a wildfire broke out in a rural area north of Laurel, near Park City in Stillwater County. Mandatory evacuations have been ordered for Benedict Gulch Road and Falling Star Road, and evacuations are in progress.

According to Stillwater County DES, the Falling Star Fire has burned between 500 to 1000 acres, and is being pushed northwest by wind. The fire is inside one subdivision, and adjacent to another, threatening more than 100 buildings, with losses unknown at this time.

More than 100 firefighters are on scene, and the air and ground response is focusing on moving the fire around the subdivision.

Stillwater County DES Coordinator Carol Arkell predicts that the fire will likely reach and could cross Valley Creek Road to the west by nightfall, and said on Facebook that more resources are on the way.

Efforts to slow the spread of a large wildfire burning on the Flathead Indian Reservation over the weekend continue to be successful. The Magpie Rock Fire near Dixon has burned 3,539 acres as of Sunday morning, and is now 39% contained. 

According to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of Fire, an aerial burnout operation using helicopters on Saturday helped button up an area of the fire burning in steep, rocky terrain. But hot and dry weather conditions, low RH, and dry fuels continue to be a safety challenge for firefighters on the ground. 

330 firefighters are currently on the scene, and mop-up operations and efforts to secure the fire's perimeter continue. No structures are threatened at this time. To reduce risk to firefighters and the public, the D-6000 road between Revais and Magpie and the Magpie D-5000 roads remain closed. 

Magpie Rock Fire managers are holding a public meeting at 9:00 AM on Monday morning at the Dixon School gymnasium to give an overview of the wildfire and answer any questions.

Fire officials are also reporting a new blaze burning several miles north of Bannack State Park, at Badger Pass near Dillon. According to Montana DNRC, the Bon Accord Fire ignited on Saturday around 4 p.m, but the cause is still undetermined.

As of Sunday morning, the Bon Accord fire was approximately 145 acres, and around 100 firefighters from state, local and federal agencies are working to contain it. Three hotshot crews and several aircraft are on the scene trying to secure the edges of the fire today, before the wind picks back up on Monday, making firefighting conditions more challenging again.

Officials last updated information on the Horseshoe Fire near Polson Thursday. The fire had burned 140 acres along the Flathead River at the time and was 20% contained. No structures are threatened.

The Clear Creek Fire near Perma was listed as 100 percent contained after burning roughly 350 acres.

The Whistle Creek Fire in Sweet Grass County was also listed as contained Friday, and the Sweet Grass County Sheriff's office reported that fire crews were able to return to their stations.

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