Montana Public Radio

Montana Wildfire Update For September 09, 2020

Sep 9, 2020

The Bridger Foothills Fire northeast of Bozeman claimed 28 permanent residences as it burned 7,000 acres and forced more than 200 people to evacuate this weekend.

In an evening update Tuesday, Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin said the fire is still actively burning, but some evacuated residents of Bridger Canyon Road from Boylan Road to Jackson Creek Road were able to return to their homes Wednesday.

"We ask you that if you are a resident and you're going back into that area, stay at your house. We don't need people driving around and going and checking on neighbors and talking to other property owners."

To avoid dangerous hazards, residents are advised not to stay in areas that have been burned.

Bridger Canyon Road remains closed to the public from Boylan Road to Brackett Creek.

Cooler, wetter weather Monday and Tuesday helped crews start to reign-in the blaze, but Fire Behavior Analyst Glen Lewis says the moisture boost will be short lived in dried fine fuels like grasses.

"But also in the forested areas, those heavier fuels are holding heat and that of course is the kind of thing Rob's crews are out there, trying to get a handle on and get those knocked down before it continues to warm up and has the potential to spread."

Firefighting resources are limited nationwide. Crews assigned to the fire are targeting structure protection and securing containment lines while ensuring their own safety.

The cause of the Bridger Foothills Fire remains under investigation.

An engine on the line of the Bobcat Fire southeast of Roundup, MT, Sept. 06, 2020.
Credit inciweb

The Bobcat Fire burning in timber and grass seven miles southeast of Roundup is now half contained.

The Incident Management team overseeing firefighting efforts reports 10 primary residences and 13 secondary structures have been lost to the 30,000 acre fire. More damage may still be discovered.

Evacuation orders were lifted Monday.

Firefighters are working to cool hot spots and build containment lines around structures ahead of expected warmer temperatures later this week.

Tuesday’s precipitation and cooler temperatures helped the 101 fire personnel fighting the 52,000 acre Sarpy Fire burning in ponderosa pine and short grass on the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations. That fire is considered 90 percent contained.

Crow Agency Fire and Aviation announced Tuesday that the likely cause of the Sarpy Fire was a coal seam burning underground that ignited nearby grass.

The 47,000 acre human-caused Huff Fire that forced evacuations in Jordan last Wednesday is reported as 100 percent contained as of Wednesday. Garfield County Disaster and Emergency Services report local ranchers lost 200 sheep, an unknown number of cows and 20 secondary buildings, but no primary residences.

Firefighters Monday also contained the Snider and Rice Fires that burned more than 46,000 acres of pine, juniper and grass north of Ashland.

The lightning-caused Lone Star Fire south of Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park is reported at 75 percent contained. Fire crews continue to protect buildings and other infrastructure around Old Faithful. That fire is about 3,200 acres in size and has cost nearly $1.2 million to fight.

Get the latest Montana wildfire, fire management and air quality news on your radio, via podcast, or in your inbox.