The July Fire has now burned an estimated 1,669 acres near the town of Zortman in Phillips County.
About 135 firefighters are working to contain the fire that was first reported near the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation at around 4:30 p.m. Monday.
While winds and terrain mainly carried the fire away from Zortman, it did creep slowly to within a quarter-mile of the town, with a population of 69. No mandatory evacuations were ordered, however, law enforcement officers from the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office and BLM are in the vicinity to assist with evacuations, if they become necessary.
The National Weather Service in Glasgow, Mont., is predicting hot and dry conditions will combine with gusty winds, creating critical fire weather conditions Wednesday. As a result, they issued a red flag warning.
The red flag warning in effect from noon until 9 p.m. Wednesday is forecasting temperatures into the mid-90s and scattered thunderstorms.
The fire is under the command of Incident Commander Josh Barta, from the BLM North Central Montana District.
Crews that responded to the fire included: the BLM, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Montana Department of Natural Resources, Phillips County and a number of volunteer fire departments. A Heavy Air Tanker, multiple Single Engine Air Tankers, 4 Helicopters, 10 Engines, 2 Water Tenders and 3 bulldozers are being used in the effort.
More resources were ordered to the fire including a Type-2 Incident Management Team.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. To report wildfires, call 911 or the Lewistown Interagency Dispatch Center at (406) 538-1072.
UPDATE (3:35 p.m.) – The Bureau of Land Management has updated the status of the July Fire.
The BLM reported Tuesday after noon that aircraft are dropping water on the July Fire about 1 mile south of Zortman which has now reached approximately 1,000 acres since it was first reported around 4:30 p.m. Monday.
About 90 wildland firefighters are battling the blaze. A Heavy Air Tanker, multiple Single Air Tankers, three Helicopters, nine Engines, two Water Tenders and three bulldozers are being used in the effort.
GREAT FALLS – A fast-moving wildfire in Phillips County has now burned more than 400 acres.
The “July Fire” is about one mile southwest of Zortman, and 45 miles south of Malta.
The fire was reported at about 4:30 p.m. on Monday.
The Phillips County Sheriff’s Office has asked people in the vicinity to evacuate, but evacuations are not mandatory at this point.
The fire is burning in mixed timber and open areas of sagebrush.
Temperatures in the area reached nearly 100 degrees on Monday, and humidity is very low, causing dangerous fire conditions.
There have been no injuries reported, and there are no structures immediately threatened.
The Bureau Of Land Management reports the following assets have been deployed: 8 Engines, 1 Water Tender, 1 Jump Plane, 1 Lead Plane, 4 Single Engine Air Tankers, and 1 Type-2 Helicopter.
Firefighters are battling very dry air and gusty winds.
There is no containment at this point.
We will keep you updated as we get more information.