Fire Season

Porcupine prescribed burn Custer Gallatin National Forest 2018.
Custer Gallatin National Forest


The Custer Gallatin National Forest Monday postponed several controlled burns in southwest Montana due to an incoming winter storm.

Fire fighers use drip torches to contain a grass fire ignited by a burning coal seam on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation over Labor Day weekend.
Jon Kohn / Bureau of Indian Affairs

Fire crews on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation have counted 80-plus coal seam fires. This season, some are new and have caused grass fires, while others date back decades.

Firefighters in yellow stand by the side of the Mountain View Fire near Molt, Montana
Kayla Tillman / via Facebook


A fire near Molt grew to almost 3,000 acres Thursday morning but fire officials had optimistic news for residents by late afternoon.

Updated 5:19 p.m., August 1, 2019

Lightning near the south end of the Bitterroot National Forest Wednesday night has sparked a one-tenth acre fire west of Hamilton in the Canyon Creek drainage next to Blodgett Canyon.

Forest Service spokesperson Tod McKay says a few firefighters have been working on the blaze near Barley Creek this afternoon; helicopters have also made water bucket drops.

Update to our story filed Wednesday night:

Montana authorities say a the North Hills Fire burning north of Helena is no longer threatening homes and all evacuation orders are being lifted.

Lewis and Clark County sheriff's officials said today all residents will be allowed home in the afternoon. The roads to public areas, including Black Sandy State Park and the White Sandy campground, are expected to re-open by the evening.

Olivia Reingold / Yellowstone Public Radio


Fire managers on the Crow Reservation are calling back crews this week, in anticipation of rising fire potential.

Updated 4:50 p.m.

A little after 4 p.m. the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s office Facebook page announced a new evacuation due to a new wildfire for the Beaver Creek area near Nelson. It says a roadblock is in place at the York Bar preventing traffic from traveling north. Travel is still permitted east toward Vigilante Campground.

There’s a public meeting about the North Hills Fire being held at this hour at the Helena Valley Community Center. That fire, first reported Friday afternoon, quickly blew up to more than 4,000 acres, causing evacuation orders to be issued for an estimated 400 homes.

Among the evacuees is Erin Vang, who left her home Saturday quickly.

Yellowstone National Park's north entrance by Gardiner, Montana, May 16, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Law enforcement is still investigating a human-caused fire that temporarily closed the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park Friday. Rachel Cramer with Yellowstone Public Radio News reports.

Another north-central Montana county has instituted burn restrictions because of weather conditions that could lead to rapidly spreading fires from errant sparks or unattended fires.

Thursday, Cascade County issued an open-burning ban in effect until further notice. Toole County also has a countywide burn ban, while Jefferson and Lewis and Clark counties have banned debris burning.

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