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Crews battle wildfire south of Big Sky

Posted at 6:50 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 20:50:30-05

Crews are working on a wildfire south of Big Sky Thursday afternoon.

On November 5th, 2020 at 1:15, Gallatin County Dispatch received a call of a wildland fire near the Porcupine Creek Wildlife Management Area, east of Highway 191 near mile marker 45. Due to wind and fuel conditions, the fire moved at a rapid pace north but has slowed down at this time. Warning notifications are being given for residences in the area. Approximately 400 acres of Porcupine Creek Wilderness Area have been involved. No structure loss is reported at this time.

Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, Big Sky Fire, Bozeman Fire, Hyalite Fire, Forest Service, DNRC, Yellowstone Club Fire Department, and Montana Highway Patrol are all assisting with the fire.

A planned burn was set by the Custer Gallatin National Forest Service for this afternoon, but the Porcupine Wildfire started more than a mile away from that burn.

Marna Daley, Public Affairs Officer for Custer Gallatin National Forest, said crews from Big Sky, the Yellowstone Club, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and the Custer Gallatin National Forest are on the scene.

Fire spread seems to have slowed, but the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office has placed some homeowners near the perimeter on pre-evacuation notice.

The fire is currently burning on state lands and is being managed under unified command under the forest service and Big Sky Fire.

The prescribed burn has stopped and the MT DNRC helicopter has been called in for suppression efforts.

According to Big Sky Fire Captain Jason Gras, windy conditions caused the fire to flare up, but crews are currently gaining control of it and the fire is in heavy timber and steep cliffs, across from Ophir School.

Earlier today the West Yellowstone Police Department advised that Highway 191 was closed to northbound traffic at the Highway 287 junction where traffic was detoured through Ennis.

According to Gras, the highway is now open. The Montana Department of Transportation's map of the area warns of reduced speeds, delays, and single lane traffic.

The fire remains under investigation.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Photo courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office