GREAT FALLS — Here is the latest information on several large wildfires burning south of Great Falls. As of Friday, there have been no reported injuries or damaged structures.
The Harris Mountain Fire has burned an estimated 26,478 acres as Friday morning (July 30), and is about 13% contained. The fire was sparked by lightning on Friday, July 23, and is about seven miles south/southeast of the town of Cascade. A community meeting will be held Saturday, July 31, at 10 a.m. at Wedsworth Hall (13 Front Street South) in Cascade. Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 7 will provide an update on the fire. Approximately 60 residences have been affected by evacuation orders and notifications. No new evacuation orders or notifications have been issued since July 26th. On Monday, July 26th, the Cascade County Sheriff's Office issued MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDERS for all residents south of mile marker 7 on Adel Road, Cannon Lake Lane, Sheep Creek Road, and Sheep Creek Lane, and Austin Lane. A PRE-EVACUATION NOTICE was issued for Novak Creek Lane. An American Red Cross evacuation center is located at the Cascade School. Families can also request Red Cross services by calling 800-272- 6668.
The Divide Complex wildfires consists of the lightning-sparked Balsinger Fire and the Ellis Fire, and are located several miles west of Monarch and Neihart. As of Friday morning, the Balsinger Fire is about 8,352 acres with no containment. The Ellis Fire is estimated at 1,277 acres, with 80% containment. The Divide Complex has 218 personnel assigned, along with aircraft, engines, dozers, water tenders, excavators, fell bunchers, skidders, and an ambulance. Showdown ski area is serving as a "base camp" for firefighters; click here for details.
The lightning-caused American Fork Fire started on July 17 in the northeast Crazy Mountains, about 24 miles southwest of Harlowtown. As of Friday morning, it has burned an estimated 14,325 acres, and is about 10% contained. The American Fork Fire has 266 personnel assigned, along with engines, dozers, and water tenders. Private rancher dozers, MT Natural Resources & Conservation, Cascade County, Meagher County, Park County, Sweet Grass County, and Wheatland County are also supporting suppression efforts.
The Woods Creek Fire, located near Boulder Lakes in the Big Belt Mountains, has burned approximately 12,000 acres as of Friday morning, with zero containment. The fire was sparked by lightning on July 10th.
Visit the Inciweb site for more details about these and other wildfires in Montana.