Raging Wildfire South of Billings Explodes to Over 10,000 Acres
A wildfire south of Billings blew up overnight, rapidly growing from 100 acres to over 10,000 acres. Dubbed the Pryor Creek Road Incident, the blaze was first discovered around 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. By 7:45 p.m. local media reported the fire had grown exponentially, driven by gusty winds as a cooler Pacific front moved into Montana.
The fire is burning approximately 35 miles south of Billings.
Believed to be human-caused, the fire is burning on cropland and rugged, brushy ridges surrounding the fields. The Billings Gazette reported that officials were going door-to-door in the area, issuing voluntary evacuations. Pryor Road is closed at this time. The fire is now the 3rd largest active blaze in Montana. According to the Montana DNRC Fire Map, nine new fires ignited across the state on Tuesday.
The cost of fighting wildfires in Montana is huge.
According to data from the State, annual costs can vary depending on the severity of the fire season. Annual state fire costs, adjusted for inflation, range between $2.8 million in 2002 to $66.7 million in the summer of 2017, one of the worst fire years in recent memory.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more info becomes available.