FERGUS COUNTY — The Taylor Fire burning in Fergus County has burned about 27,178 acres as of Tuesday evening (August 3) due to dry conditions and changing winds; that figure is down slightly from Monday night's estimate. There is no containment yet and the cause of the fire is still unknown.
The fire is burning northeast of Denton and southwest of Winifred. At this point, there are no reports of injuries to people, or of damaged structures, but we have received some reports of livestock dying.
Jocee Hedrick, the Lewistown Unit Manager for the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation, said that it’s hard to tell what will happen in the next few days. “It’s been pretty consistent. I think this rain put a damper on the growth for today. For the future, I don’t know,” Hedrick said.
According to Fergus County DES coordinator Ryan Peterson, roads have been closed in the area and people are asked to avoid the area to allow firefighting efforts to commence unheeded. "Bear Springs Road remains closed from the Taylor residence to Judith River, and Everson Road remains closed where it intersects with Sunnyside Road,” he said. “We advise the public to stay out of the area.”
Changing weather conditions have it burning on both sides of the Judith River but recent moisture and equipment being brought in are helping the efforts.
“Last night’s storm and outflow winds pushed the Taylor Fire east and across the Judith River, adding several thousand acres and complexity to the fire,” said Clive Rooney, Area Manager for the Northeastern Land Office of the DNRC.
The DNRC has teamed up with the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fergus County Disaster & Emergency Services (DES), Fergus County volunteer fire departments, and neighboring volunteer fire departments to contain the fire.
“Rapid response from the Winifred Volunteer Fire Department and local landowners, combined with the Incident Management Team’s efforts, slowed the Taylor Fire’s advance,” said Rooney. “Changing weather and light rainfall have slowed the fire’s progress. They are now working on the new fire line.”
Jennifer Saunders of the Fergus County Extension Office is coordinating donation efforts to help firefighters; she posted the following message on Tuesday:
I will be at the 4-H Food Booth, (fairgrounds, come in by the brick barn, across from the livestock pavilion), on WEDNESDAY, tomorrow from 4 to 6 pm.
Here is their list of needs; Canisters of Coffee, Bottled Water, Powdered Power Aide Packets, Fruit Cups, Eye Drops, Chap Sticks, Advil, Cheese Sticks, English Muffins, Eggs, Sliced Cheese, Jerky, Slim Jims, Trail Mix, Baby Wipes, Plastic Spoons and Cough Drops. If you have time to come and help sort and box donations on Wednesday, that would be great. Or help load at 8:30 Thursday morning. Let me know, text 366-1677.
DNRC’s Northeastern Land Office has prioritized response efforts and suppression resources to the fire, including an incident commander, air resources, and multiple fire engines. The state agency has also ordered additional resources. However, resource availability is limited given the heightened fire activity across the state and geographic area.