The Coal Ridge Fire in Blaine County was reported at about 1 p.m. on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, and has burned approximately 1,200 acres as of Wednesday, August 30.
The acreage includes about 166 acres of Bureau of Land Management land, including areas within the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument; 250 acres of state-managed lands; and 790 private acres.
The fire’s boundary is generally located near the Missouri River, about five miles north of Stafford Ferry in Blaine County.
There are no reports of injuries or damaged structures.
The fire grew quickly on Tuesday due to windy conditions, with active fire behavior, burning in timber, dry grasses and sagebrush; growth on Wednesday has been minimal, according to BLM.
A Type 3 Incident Management Team, led by the BLM North Central Montana District, assumed command of fire operations at about 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
BLM says that numerous overhead, engines, and dozers are assigned to the fire, along with about 40 personnel from the BLM, DNRC, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Blaine County and private resources.
Aerial resources assigned – including helicopters, air tankers and air attack – were temporarily grounded for crew safety on Tuesday afternoon due to the windy conditions.
Firefighters are working to prevent the fire from spreading toward two structures and natural gas infrastructure near the area.
People are cautioned to stay clear of the area and not operate unmanned aircraft (drones) in the vicinity, and to not not engage in any activity that could obstruct active fire operations and increase risk to firefighters.
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