GREAT FALLS — The Richard Spring Fire (Inciweb) about 10 miles southwest of Colstrip has burned more than 150,000 acres as of Wednesday morning (August 11). At this point, there are no reports of any injuries. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
The communities of Ashland, Colstrip, and Lame Deer are currently threatened and some evacuations have been ordered.
On Tuesday evening, residents of Lame Deer were ordered to evacuate to the Busby school as the fire pushed toward town, according to Northern Cheyenne Tribal President Donna Fisher.
An emergency alert siren began sounding at 6:45 p.m. in Lame Deer, urging the town's roughly 2,000 residents to get out.
Fisher said at a community meeting that the fire was about three-and-a-half miles from town
The American Red Cross has opened an emergency evacuation shelter in Lame Deer for people displaced by the fire; it is located at the Boys & Girls Club of the Northern Cheyenne Nation at 101 Cheyenne Avenue. Evacuees can also go to the Broadus Elementary School at 518 Trautman Avenue in Broadus.
Highway 39 is open to limited travel and US 212 is open to local traffic only. Pre-evacuation notices are in effect on the lower Rosebud Creek from Greenleaf Creek to Cherry Creek.
Fire behavior is extreme with wind driven runs and is burning in mainly brush, short grass, and timber. The fire is burning on the west side of the Tongue River. The current weather conditions of high winds and low relative humidity combined with high temperatures are expected to continue and sustain or increase fire behavior.