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Downed power line likely cause of West Wind fire in Denton

burning pile denton sr.jpg
Shaylee Ragar
Montana Public Radio
A pile of rubble burns next to the train tracks in Denton in the aftermath of the West Wind fire.

A power line was the likely cause of a fire in central Montana that authorities say claimed more than two dozen homes last week.

The state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation on Saturday updated the cause of the West Wind fire that tore through Denton from "human" to "powerline."

A spokesperson for NorthWestern Energy said late Thursday the utility was helping investigate the possibility that a strong wind event downed a line southwest of Denton and sparked the blaze, which was first reported Tuesday.

The fire in Fergus County was 58% percent contained as of Saturday afternoon, but crews with DNRC's County Assist Team said they believed that would improve by the end of the day.

Enhanced mapping shows the size of the fire as 10,644 acres, down from an earlier estimate.

Initial assessments show the blaze destroyed 25 primary residences, 18 secondary structures and 6 commercial properties. No injuries or deaths were reported.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.