Grassfire In Lame Deer Claims Trailer Home

Apr 8, 2019

A trailer burned in a fire that crews contained Sunday on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in southeast Montana.

The fire started northwest of the community of Lame Deer and moved quickly, according to Rosebud County Sheriff Allen Fulton.

"To my understanding, it was started by a trailer house that caught fire and it spread from there and they worked on it in the morning – it started it earlier in the day – and they worked on it on some hills, but then the wind came up and pushed it toward Lame Deer,” Fulton says.

Windy weather may have contributed to the spread of a grass fire Sunday.

“For this time of year it’s kinda crazy it was burning as good as it was," he says. "There’s a lot of fuel from last year and nothing really green coming up yet.”

Fulton says by the time they had contained the fire, it had burned around 1,700 acres.

He says no structures other than the trailer burned, but authorities encouraged some homes to evacuate. He says nearby schools set up shelters.

“We had some reports of some kids that were having asthma issues and I believe they all went to the Lame Deer High School to get out of the smoke," Fulton says.

Some people went to check on their families, like Lame Deer resident Dean Wallowing Bull.

“My family all along the creek on the north side of town were all evacuated from their homes," Wallowing Bull says. "Some of them weren’t home. There was a birthday party going on at the church, so they evacuated that, and they didn’t really have time to evacuate our elders because they were already shutting the roads down and a lot of the elders were sitting outside watching the fire.”

A release from Bureau of Indian Affairs Wildland Fire Management says the fire shut down U.S. Route 212 and Montana Highway 39 temporarily. Crews from across the region chipped in, including from Crow Agency, Miles City and Forsyth County.

Earlier this month, firefighters also responded to a three-acre wildland fire east of Helena and a 30-acre grass fire south of Whitefish.