The Strawberry Creek Fire burning in western Pondera County surged past the boundaries of the Flathead National Forest on Monday evening, fueled by strong winds.
The fire has burned an estimated 10,537 acres as of Tuesday.
The Pondera County Sheriff's Office initiated mandatory evacuations for several residents between Swift Dam and the Karl Rappold Ranch, the Birch Creek Area, and Seven Mile Lane. The increased fire activity prompted the Sheriff to initiate evacuations for four to five ranch owners in the vicinity of Swift Reservoir and the dam keeper's residence.
A pre-evacuation notice was issued for homes farther east along Swift Dam Road toward Dupuyer. A pre-evacuation notice tells property owners to be ready to leave on short notice. Pre-evacuation calls are also being made to people living in Dupuyer, as the fire begins to spread in the directions.
They ask that anyone who evacuates their property to tie a ribbon or colored twine on their fence posts to let responders know you have left the property.
A shelter has been opened at the Fireman's Pavilliion at Lake Frances near Valier.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has closed Lake Frances near Valier while crews use lake water to fight the three nearby wildfires.
FWP says that the closure applies to all recreation, including boating, swimming, wading, and fishing.
The closure is to ensure public safety so that aircraft crews can safely operate as they dip water from the lake.
The closure will be in place until fire crews no longer need to use the lake for suppression efforts.
The lightning-sparked fire was reported on August 25th about two miles north of Sabido Cabin, between Strawberry Creek and East Fork Strawberry Creek, in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, on the Flathead National Forest.
The fire is being managed with the Scalp and Crucifixion Fires by a Type 3 Incident Management Team based in Choteau.