Montana Public Radio


The human caused Falling Star Fire burning northwest of Laurel in south central Montana is still listed as 80 percent contained, but firefighting efforts got a big boost Monday night from rainfall from an overnight thunderstorm. Most of the crews working the fire lines have been released but a few fire trucks from local companies are still patrolling the containment lines.

State and local firefighters determined the Falling Star Fire burning within a subdivision northwest of Laurel is human caused. No structures have been destroyed but some have damage.

The fire was first reported about 1 P.M., Sunday.

Evacuation orders have been lifted and will remain so unless the established fire line is threatened by high winds and spot fires. The fire is behind containment lines and crews worked overnight to improve those lines to protect threatened structures.

Thunderstorms and high winds are forecast for this evening.

Fire camp sunset on the Sunrise Fire 7/24/17

Wildland firefighters already follow a lengthy list of safety and wardrobe rules: the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has just made it a little longer.

Firefighters on the Magpie Rock fire near Dixon, MT, early August 2020.
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Division of Fire

Evacuation orders have been lifted for the 100 structures threatened by the nearly 2,300 acre Falling Star Fire burning in grass and timber northwest of Laurel. No structures have been destroyed but some have damage from the fire burning in Stillwater County in south central Montana. YPRs Kay Erickson reports that officials say the fire is human caused.

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.

The growth of a large wildfire on the Flathead Indian Reservation has slowed. The Magpie Rock Fire near Dixon has burned 3,167 acres as of Saturday morning, and is now 30% contained. 

A large wildfire on the Flathead Indian Reservation continues to grow. The Magpie Rock Fire near Dixon has burned 3,100 acres as of Friday afternoon.

Map showing 2020 Montana wildfires >100 acres.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio

Four large fires continue to burn in Montana today.

Nearly 300 personnel are working the 2,500 acre Magpie Rock Fire near Dixon. That fire doubled in size overnight and remains 0% contained, according to an update from the CSKT Division of Fire. It is not threatening any structures, but road closures are in effect for Revais 6000 road between Revais and Magpie as well as Magpie 5000 road. Heavy air tankers dropped retardant on the fire Tuesday. Firefighters plan to continue work on containment lines today.

Fire season is getting underway in northwest Montana: The Magpie Rock Fire 8 miles west of Dixon tripled in size since Tuesday, and is now estimated at 1,000 acres.

Fire hose.

Firefighters remain on scene at the roughly 300-acre Magpie Rock Fire. Located near Dixon on the Flathead Indian Reservation, the fire was 0% contained Tuesday morning.