Montana wildfire roundup: Fires take off over holiday weekend

Montana wildfire roundup: Fires take off over holiday weekend

Source: Billings Gazette
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Wildfires continue to plague Montana as we come out of the Labor Day weekend. Here’s a look at current fire news and how you can help.

How you can help: Here is information on how to help firefighters and those affected by Montana’s fires.

Stay up to date: Follow Montana Wildfires on Facebook or Twitter for fire updates.

10 homes lost: The Caribou fire overran some 40 buildings in northwest Montana over the weekend, including at least 10 homes in an Amish community.

Rice Ridge fire explodes: The fire that started six weeks ago six miles north of Seeley lake is now a solid scar of char for 25 miles, maybe more. The Rice Ridge fire jumped from 40,000 acres to more than 100,000 over the weekend. It isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.

Fire near Lincoln grows: The Alice Creek fire burning northeast of Lincoln grew by more than 10,000 acres over the last two days, pushing its total size to more than 21,300 acres. Four cabins burned down and 14 more residences were evacuated as the Alice Creek fire near Lincoln grew an additional 5,887 acres Sunday night.

Progress on two fires: Twenty miles northeast of Ashland, the Sartin Draw fire was in its final stages. In six days, the fire had covered nearly 100,000 acres in southeastern Montana. And authorities from the DNRC and Hill and Blaine counties have begun letting some residents back into the area affected by the East Fork fire.

Meyers fire: The Meyers Fire southwest of Philipsburg is getting bigger and evacuation orders remained in the Frog Pond and Moose Lake areas on Monday.

More wind, more fire, more smoke: Monday’s updates from Inciweb on fire after fire painted a dire picture of the high winds and low humidity, making it another tough day for firefighters.

“Unprecedented fire season”: Gov. Steve Bullock sent a message to residents addressing Montana’s fires: “This has been a long and incredibly difficult fire season and conditions this week will continue to be challenging. Everyone – residents, visitors, volunteers – must continue to stay safe, stay informed, and continue to support our firefighters, our communities, and businesses impacted by fires.”

Last season for Neptune P2V: This year marks the last season of firefighting for the Lockheed P2V planes. Missoula-based Neptune Aviation will retire its last four radial-engine air tankers in favor of new BAe-146 jets.

Sperry Chalet burns: The flames that gutted the 114-year-old Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park on Thursday were first noticed coming from the inside, according to firefighters who were desperately trying to save the historic building from a fast-moving wildfire in extremely dry, hot and windy conditions.

Sperry Chalet photos: Built in 1914, Sperry Chalet has been a popular destination in Glacier National Park for more than a century. On August 31, 2017, the the historic building was destroyed by wildfire. We don’t know what the future holds for the site, but you can look at the history of Sperry in these photos.

More Sperry Chalet photos: People took to Instagram to share their favorite Sperry Chalet shots and to mourn the loss of the historic site.

Fire gear: You can find just about everything at Axmen west of Missoula. Lately, the store has been carving out a niche as a one-stop shop for all kinds of firefighting equipment.

Poor air quality: Late Saturday afternoon the last holdout of fresh air in the state of Montana was the town of Cut Bank, according to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s air quality monitoring data.

Fire science: Montana has been dealing with wildfires for years — many, many years. Below layers of charcoal left over from the 1910 Great Burn, Phil Higuera and his colleagues at the University of Montana have found traces of forest fires dating back 2,500 years.