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Lighting sparks wildfires near Wolf Creek, Lincoln, and Augusta - KXLH.com | Helena, Montana

Lighting sparks wildfires near Wolf Creek, Lincoln, and Augusta

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GREAT FALLS -

Several lightning-sparked fires are continuing to burn in and around Lewis & Clark County.

The Lookout Fire burning near Wolf Creek has forced the evacuation of an estimated 46 homes. 

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at Wolf Creek School located at 150 Walsh Street for evacuees.

Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation released the following information on Saturday evening:

Overview

Numerous lightning caused fires continue to burn in the Wolf Creek, Cascade, Dearborn area. DNRC is working with Federal,County, and Local agencies to position limited resources strategically.  Crews are battling high temperatures and low relative humidity as well as erratic gusty winds associated with an approaching pacific cold front.

Evacuations

The Lewis and Clark County Sherriff’s Office has been overseeing evacuations in the Lyons Creek area.   The DNRC reminds the public to please make way for emergency vehicles and firefighting efforts by respecting evacuation orders and avoiding the area if possible.

Weather and Fire Behavior

  The cold front is not expected to ease fire weather conditions as continued hot unstable weather is predicted for Sunday.  New fires are emerging as high winds fan areas previously impacted by earlier and ongoing lightning storms.

Firefighting Outlook

 A  Type One Incident Management Team has been ordered and is on its way to take over the Lookout Fire and other duties as needed.  The Team is expected to arrive Sunday and will assume command of the incident on Monday morning.  In the meantime crews are doing their best to fight the fires while putting public safety and firefighter safety paramount.   Numerous residences and ranches dot the urban wildland interface in the general fire area as well as important communication infrastructure and the I-15 corridor.

Below is a summary of major fires in the area:

  • Lookout Fire:  The Lookout fire is approximately 200 acres burning in heavy beetle-killed lodgepole pine in steep terrain approximately 5 miles west of the town of Wolf Creek.  Access to the fire is very difficult.  Presently it is staffed by four West Yellowstone Smokejumpers and an Interagency Hotshot Crew from outside the area.  In addition the fire is receiving air support from 3 retardant tankers and a helicopter.  The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office is in charge of evacuations and assessing future needs in regard to public safety. 
  • 435 Fire: The 435 Fire is approximately 1000 acres 4 miles North of the Highway 435 and Highway 200 Junction.  One  DNRC Helicopter is on scene and the fire is staffed by DNRC and County resources with engines on scene.  Numerous residences and ranch structures are in the vicinity.
  • Flat Creek:  The Flat Creek Fire is 2 miles north of Highway 235, with both DNRC and County resources fighting the fire.  Crews today made good progress on this fire with its gentler terrain and lighter fuels.
  • Lincoln Area Fires: For more Information on the Stonewall fire outside Lincoln, click here: at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/27/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HLCNF/

Summary

Crews are facing challenging weather and tough conditions throughout the Helena Area.   The DNRC asks the public to help firefighting efforts by respecting emergency vehicles and officials and staying out of the area of active firefighting operations.  The public needs to take extreme caution with extreme fire danger present and be extra careful when working and recreating outside.  Remember, One Less Spark One Less Wildfire. 

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