UPDATE 4:10 pm, via Associated Press: A wind-driven grass fire forced the evacuation of 20 residences and destroyed several buildings northwest of Great Falls.
The Great Falls Tribune reports the fire started early Monday afternoon and was contained by 6:45 p.m., but residents reported the loss of several outbuildings. Keith McIlwain told the Tribune he lost seven structures such as barns and sheds while their home had some fire damage.
Julie Buchanan said two mobile homes near her house had burned along with a barn owned by her brother-in-law. Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter says the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
UPDATE: 11:30am Tue 9/3/19
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of fire posted the statement below at about 9:30am Tue. 9/3/19:
"The lightning-caused Welcome 1002 Fire is located 2.5 miles southwest of the town of Hot Springs. It is being managed by a local Type 3 Incident Management Team. The fire is burning in grass and timber. No structures or other infrastructure are threatened and there are no evacuation notices. There are 85 personnel assigned to the incident.
Activity yesterday- The fire was very active with single and group tree torching. Firefighters and equipment worked on control lines.
Today- Public and firefighter safety are top priority. Firefighters will continue to complete control lines. 9 Smokejumpers, MV Type II Initial Attack Crew, 2 Type II Crews, Type III Helicopter, 2 Dozers, 2 Temco’s, and miscellaneous overhead are assigned to the blaze.
Road closures- The HS-1000 and HS-3000 roads are closed
Today’s weather- Hot and dry weather pattern will continue this week. Today- Mostly Sunny Temp- 85-90 RH- 22-32% Wind- upslope/up valley 4-8 mph.
The fire is 30 acres and 0% contained.
Please stay out of the area and adhere to all road closures."
The Cascade County Sheriff's office posted this message on Facebook: "At this time, the fire is contained and there are no additional evacuations.
Please pray for our firemen and our citizens who are affected by this incident.
This fire is currently being investigated by the Cascade County Sheriff's Office. I will provide an update as to the status of this investigation when the Deputies complete their investigation.
I would like to thank all of the first responders and firefighters who are working hard on this fire."
As of 6:30pm Monday, 9/2/19:
A fast moving grass fire north of Great Falls has Cascade County sheriff’s deputies evacuating homes near Vineyard Road, including all of Golden Valley Loop. A pre-evacuation notice has been sent to residents of Cove Lane.
That’s according to the Cascade County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page. It says the Vaughn Fire Command has requested heavy aircraft from the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. The Sheriff’s Department says eastbound winds are pushing the fire toward Bootlegger.
There’s also a new, seven-acre fire burning two-and-a-half miles southwest of the town of Hot Springs.
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Fire says the lightning caused, Welcome 1002 Fire is being fought with a Type 2 crew on the ground and a Type 3 helicopter. The fire is being called 10 percent contained.
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