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Large smoke plume visible in north-central Montana

Ursus Fire Smoke Plume
Posted at 9:34 PM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 10:01:25-04

A large smoke plume has been visible in portions of central and north-central Montana over the past couple of days. This smoke plume is from the Ursus Fire which is burning in the Bob Marshall Wilderness, west-southwest of Augusta.

The Ursus fire was first reported on August 25th. Initially, there was little growth on this fire, but during the afternoon of September 5th, the fire grew by about 1,500 acres in just a few hours due to the combination of strong winds, hot temperatures, and dry conditions.

As of Tuesday evening, the lightning-sparked fire has burned an estimated 1,824 acres. At this time, there are no reports of imminent threats to any structures.

The fire is spreading towards the east, and if it continues to burn this way, then it will likely reach the 2012 Elbow Pass burn scar which should slow down the spread of the fire in that direction.

Due to the rapid growth of this fire as well as some gusty to strong winds, especially aloft in the atmosphere, a large smoke plume has been emitted from this fire towards the east-northeast and has been visible in places like Choteau, Fairfield, Augusta, and Great Falls. There have also been reports of some ash falling out of the sky in Augusta and Vaughn.

Strong winds on Wednesday (September 7th) are going to allow this fire to grow even more, which means that this fire is going to continue to emit a lot of smoke, which may cause the air quality to worsen in some locations.

The wind on Wednesday will be coming out of the west-southwest, so the smoke will be emitted toward the east and northeast. A wind shift on Thursday will then send the smoke plume toward the south and southwest.

The Ursus fire was caused by lightning and has burned 1,824 acres as of 5pm on September 6th. It is recommended that everyone avoid the Rapid Creek drainage at this time.


Ursus Fire in Lewis & Clark County