(UPDATE, 7 pm) A Type 3 Incident Command Structure is being developed to take over the Lump Gulch Fire, which has now grown to an estimated 1,800 acres.
All evacuation orders will be coming from Sheriff's Offices. The Helena-Lewis and Clark 911 Center said on Facebook around 7:00 p.m. that no evacuations had been ordered for the South Hills area of Helena. Several areas in Lewis and Clark County are under a pre-evacuation notice.
- Unionville and surrounding areas
- Upper Grizzly Gulch
- Holmes Gulch
- Tucker Gulch
- Dry Gulch
- Brooklyn Bridge to the North
Pre-evacuation means you should gather any belongings you might need to take with you and be prepared to leave should an evacuation be ordered. The Lewis and Clark Co. Sheriff's Office says anyone who does not feel safe is advised to leave and not wait for an evacuation notice.
Public safety officials in both Jefferson and Lewis & Clark counties have asked residents to not call 911 with questions about the fire.
The Montana Red Cross gas opened a shelter the La Quinta Inn at 701 Washington St. in Helena. Families will stay in individual rooms and extra precautions will be taken in response to COVID-19.
Families who need services should call the Montana Red Cross at 800-272-6668.
(UPDATE, 5:35 pm) According to Clancy Fire Information Officer Pat McKelvey, several homes in the Little Buffalo Creek area and on Sheep Mountain, and a home in Montana City near one of the drainages, have been evacuated.
McKelvey says strong winds are spreading the fire to the northeast and it is expected to continue to move toward Park Lake. The U.S. Forest Service is currently working to notify people in the Park Lake area.
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Firefighters from Clancy, Montana City, the U.S. Forest Service, DNRC, and other volunteer agencies are helping fight the fire. A helicopter is assisting with fire suppression.
McKelvey says no structures have been damaged at this time, but power is out in some areas west of Travis Creek. The cause of the fire, size, and exact start time have not yet been determined.
The Red Cross is setting up a shelter at the La Quinta Inn in Helena for anyone who needs assistance.
Lewis & Clark Public Health said on Facebook that air quality in the region is poor and advised people to close their window and stay indoors. They added that people with serious lung conditions should leave the area or take extra precautions until the smoke clears.
(UPDATE, 5:05 pm) The fire is near Little Buffalo Creek Road and moving north.
Evacuations have been ordered for residents in the immediate area by the Jefferson County Sheriff. Affected residents are gathering at the Legal Tender parking lot.
Emergency personnel are advising anyone whose home is north of the fire to prepare for the possibility of being evacuated.
(1st REPORT, 4:09 pm) Emergency crews are responding to a wildfire south of Helena.
Lewis & Clark Emergency Management said in a Facebook post that the fire is in the Lump Gulch area near Sheep Mountain, west of Clancy.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation along with other agencies are responding to the fire.
As of about 4 p.m., the fire is estimated to have burned about 50 acres; there is no word yet on the cause.
Emergency services asks that anyone whose home is being encroached on by the fire, or is currently in the immediate surrounding area, to evacuate.
We will update you as we get more information.