Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Montana Wildfire Update For July 27, 2021

Lincoln County Evacuation Orders

The Kootenai National Forest says evacuations are underway in Lincoln County where the South Yaak Fire has spread northward.

According to an incident update from the Kootenai National Forest around 1:30 this afternoon, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is evacuating residents on East side Road, west of the fire. The Sheriff's office says the mandatory evacuation order for Eastside Road near Troy only applies to residences north of mile marker 3. Affected residents in that area will be contacted by deputies.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office says it’s receding the mandatory evaluation order for Kilbrennan Lake Road. Residents there remain in a pre-evacuation status and must be prepared to evacuate if requested.

The South Yaak Fire is burning nearly 2,000 acres about four miles northwest of Troy. The fire is 10 percent contained.

Broadwater County Pre-Evacuation Warnings

The Broadwater County Sheriff's Department has issued a pre-evacuation warning west of White Sulphur Springs due to the Woods Creek Fire.

The warning covers Upper Duck Creek Road, Upper Gurnett Creek Road and Upper Dry Gulch Road. Residents need to prepare for the possibility of mandatory evacuations for these areas.

The Sheriff's Department says the warning is to provide the citizens with the time to gather livestock in the area, clear the area around homes that could be in danger and secure personal effects that can't be replaced.

Law enforcement officers will be going door to door to speak with the residents and landowners that are around.

The forest is currently closed to all traffic and activities at this time and there will be barricades placed on the road that will be open for residents, landowners and firefighting personnel. All other travelers, please avoid Confederate Gulch, Upper Duck Creek, Upper Gurnett and Upper Dry Gulch.


Garnet Ghost Town Reopens, Other Closures Remain

The Bureau of Land Management has opened the Garnet Ghost Town to visitors again after it closed July 16 due to the nearby Anderson Hill Fire. BLM issued a new, smaller closure area Tuesday, as fire crews mop-up the 750 acre fire. The fire is 90 percent contained.

Area closures are still in effect due to the Anderson Hill and Balsinger fires.

The Belt Creek-White Sulphur Springs Ranger District, Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest is closing the following area for public safety near the Balsinger Fire:

All National Forest Systems lands within the boundary of the following area, except Forest Service (FS) Roads 839 and 268:

From the junction of Monarch and Hwy 89 heading south and all lands west of Hwy. 89 following FS Road 3412 south to junction of FS Road 839;

Then west and north along FS Road 839 to the junction of FS Road 586 and along the Harley Park Connector trail to the intersection of FS Road 586;

Then moving west connecting to Trail 347, following Trail 347 to where it meets Trail 342;

Then following Tenderfoot Creek west to Trail 343, following Trail 343 to Trail 341;

Then north along Trail 341 to the intersection of FS Road 268 and FS Road 839, following FS Road 839 north connecting with Trail 304.

Additional area closures, including trail closures, are in place on the BalsingerFire and on the American Fork Fire including Big Elk Creek Trail and Trailhead.


New Fires

The National Interagency Fire Center reports there were 13 new fire starts in Montana on Monday, prompting light initial attacks by federal, state and local firefighting resources. More than two-thirds of those fires were controlled, contained or out by Monday night.

The largest of the new fire starts is the 30-acre Highway 94-Mile Marker 51 Fire, 4 miles east of Custer in the far eastern corner of Yellowstone County.

NIFC reports there are 32 uncontained large fires with 40 active fires covering nearly 347,000 acres and involving nearly 4,700 firefighters within the Northern Rockies, including Montana, Idaho, North Dakota and parts of Wyoming.

The National Interagency Situation Reporting Programs identifies 72 percent of the current fires in Montana as human caused and the rest as lightning caused.

Both the Northern Rockies and National fire preparedness levels are at 5, the highest state, because of widespread fire activity.
Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.