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A smoke plume from a new wildfire in the Bridger Mountains northeast of Bozeman could be seen throughout much of the Gallatin Valley Friday afternoon.
The Bridger Foothills Fire is located at what’s locally known as the M trail and Sypes Canyon. The Custer Gallatin National Forest is responding to the blaze. According to the Bozeman Interagency Dispatch Center, the fire has burned six acres and is threatening structures. Yellowstone Public Radio reports that one fixed-wing aircraft is on the scene.
According to the Custer Gallatin National Forest, Highway 86 between the M trail and Jackson Creek is closed. Traffic was also blocked at Story Mill and Bridger Canyon Road as well as Kelly Canyon and Bridger Canyon Road.
Gov. Steve Bullock issued an executive order declaring a state of fire emergency due to extremely hazardous wildland fire conditions throughout Montana. The order, issued Thursday evening, allows the governor to expend funds and mobilize additional state resources and the Montana National Guard to combat the fires.
Fire crews across eastern Montana are spending today building and securing containment lines around the large wildfires that started earlier this week and preparing for critical fire weather conditions this weekend.
Evacuations are still in effect for the 40 square mile Bobcat Fire in Musselshell County. According to a report from the Northern Rockies Coordination Center, some 200 structures are threatened, but so far none have been destroyed.
The Rice and Snider Fires—burning timber and tall grass in Rosebud County—are 10 and 25 percent contained as of Friday morning. Those two fires north of Ashland combined are nearly 69 square miles in size, have destroyed 4 structures and threaten more than 500.
The 73 square-mile Huff Fire in Garfield County is reported at 15 percent contained as of this morning. The fire threatened the town of Jordan, destroyed 50 structures and numerous vehicles, fields, and hay bales. But according to Tracy Zeorian, who shot video around Jordan on Wednesday, the fire has not burned any primary homes.
The nearly 75 square mile Sarpy Fire east of Hardin is burning grass and ponderosa pine on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations and is zero percent contained.
The cause of all of these fires is under investigation.
More high winds, hot temperatures, and low humidity are expected Saturday and Sunday, which could spur activity on existing fires and help grow new starts.