GREAT FALLS — The team at Showdown Montana ski area is working to help the crews that are fighting the Divide Complex wildfires. As of Thursday morning, the Balsinger Fire is about 8,185 acres with no containment. The Ellis Fire is estimated at 1,277 acres, with 80% containment. The two wildfires are being co-managed as the Divide Complex Fire.
Pre-evacuation orders have not been issued for residents of Neihart at this point, but some people with property in Neihart are beginning to take steps to protect their homes, cabins, and themselves. “Yeah, the last couple days we’ve had quite a few people coming up, clearing out their cabins, getting dinner, getting to-go orders, not super frantic but a lot of traffic,” said April Roth, a bartender at Bob’s Bar Dining & Motel.
The Divide Complex has 177 personnel assigned, along with aircraft, engines, a dozer, excavators, fell bunchers, skidders, an ambulance, water tenders and a tracked vehicle. As of Thursday morning, there have been no reports of any injuries or damaged/destroyed structures.
Showdown on Wednesday posted a plea for people to help them help the firefighters:
- Work at Showdown: We’re very short-staffed up here and are looking for people who’d like to work full-time, part-time. If you're interested in full or part-time employment please send an email to email@example.com
- Sign up for a paid volunteer shift: We have set up a link where you can sign up to work shifts as a paid volunteer. We have morning, mid-day, and evening shifts available–7 days a week. All shifts are 8 hours long and pay $100 per shift. We’re short-staffed and could use all the help we can get to make sure the firefighters are well cared for. Please be mindful when you sign up for a shift that we don't have anyone to cover for you and we're depending on you to show up. To view available shifts and sign up, click here.
- Donate individually wrapped snacks and drinks: If would like to donate food or drinks, we have a community donated snack/drink table set up in the lodge where the firefighters can grab extra snacks/drinks to put in their packs for the day. The firefighters have been loving this table! Food and drinks need to be individually wrapped and easy to grab. Please deliver food to Showdown. Some examples of snacks/drinks they enjoy are Gatorade, Capri-Sun, fresh fruit, granola bars, chips, fruit snacks, trail mix, meat sticks, beef jerky, or whatever else you think they'd enjoy!
- Come perform music during dinner: Are you or someone you know a musician interested in donating your talents and time to entertain the firefighters while they eat dinner? Yay! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to find an evening that works.
Showdown noted that they can't accept cash donations, but recommended that people who wish to donate money can do so at the Wildland Firefighter Foundation website by clicking here.