Montana Wildfires Continue To Grow
Thursday afternoon updates from three large wildfires in Montana show more growth in the hot and windy conditions. The Robertson Draw Fire near Red Lodge is now estimated to be over 24,470 acres in size and an evacuation warning has gone out to the town of Bearcreek. There is local access only on Meeteetse Trail Road, Grove Creek Road and Robertson Draw Road.
The Crooked Creek Fire on the Custer Galatin National Forest had the most extreme behavior of the fires Thursday. The 5,100 acre blaze is 25 miles east of Bridger and was pushed north by strong winds. The fire was crowning at the tops of the trees and spotting ahead of the main fire front.
The Deep Creek Fire near Townsend is now 4,640 acres in size and is burning north and south of Highway 12 East. The causes of the Deep Creek fire and the Crooked Creek fire are unknown and are under investigation.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of Land Management has put fire restrictions on the North Hills near Montana's capitol, Helena. The restrictions on BLM land start Friday, June 18. No motorized vehicles are allowed. Also, fires and campfires are prohibited, and no smoking except in an area at least three feet in diameter, cleared of flammable materials.
There have already been fires there. Field Manager Lindsey Babcock said, "Our fire protection partners have already responded to over a dozen human-caused wildfires in the North Hills this year. With fuel conditions rapidly changing, we can't afford to see a fire explode like the Deep Creek fire Near Townsend did earlier this week. These fire restrictions will protect both our natural resources and our neighbors." In 2019, a person illegally shooting exploding targets caused a 5,000 acre fire in the North Hills. For more information, contact (406) 533-7600, the Butte BLM field office.