NewsWildfire Watch


Wildfire burning east of Helena; some evacuations ordered

Matt Staff Fire
Posted at 6:59 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-05 01:23:14-04

UPDATE 8:45 p.m. - The fire has now burned an estimated 1,900 acres, according to Lewis & Clark County Sheriff's Office.

The fire, fueled by warm and windy conditions, sent up a plume of smoke that could be seen from miles away. Firefighters from across the Helena Valley as well as state and local agencies responded.

Aircrews attacked the fire with helicopters and retardant drops but couldn't keep the flames from burning through fields and reaching the ridge.

"It spot fired over the ridge and into that bowl," said Tri-Lakes Interim Fire Chief Marc Weniger.

A DC-10 "very large air tanker" (V-LAT) worked to keep the fire from crossing a second ridge and moving down the hill to West Shore Drive.

UPDATE 6:15 p.m. - The Red Cross evacuation center at First Assembly of God Church is open, people affected by the fire can also request Red Cross services by calling 800-272-6668. The fire is being called the "Matt Staff Fire."

UPDATE 5:19 p.m. - An evacuee respite center will be open at the First Assembly of God Church at 2210 Dodge Avenue starting at 6:00 p.m. Evacuations at 5:00 p.m. include Matt Staff Road and West Shore Drive in Lewis & Clark County, and Jimmy Green Road and Tremper Road in Broadwater County.

Lazy HM and LF Baum in Broadwater County are under pre-evacuation caution.

UPDATE 4:25 p.m. - Sheriff Leo Dutton says they are evacuating West Shore Drive on Canyon Ferry Lake. Dutton says the fire has burned up to the top of a ridge and is continuing to burn east towards Canyon Ferry.

The Broadwater County Sheriff's Office says LF Baum Road and Jimmy Green are on evacuation notice and not under an active evacuation at this time.

FIRST REPORT, 3:39 p.m. - A wildland fire has been reported near Spokane Creek Road on the east side of the Helena Valley.

Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office says a large number of first responders are in the area of Spokane Creek subdivision for a fast-moving fire. People are asked to stay out of that area and use caution if they absolutely need to go through there.

Fire by Spokane Creek Road

Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says evacuations have been issued for Matt Staff Road. The fire is moving fast toward Broadwater County. Residents in the path of the fire should be prepared to evacuate.

MTN has a reporter on the scene who reports at least two helicopters assisting with getting the fire under control.