(HELENA) Residents in northern Jefferson County will remain under evacuation through Friday, as crews deal with a wildfire south of Helena.
Authorities say they saw no significant growth or activity on the Holmes Gulch Fire overnight. Their latest estimates say it has burned around 75 acres and is 5 percent contained.
Firefighters believe the Holmes Gulch Fire was started around 2 p.m. Thursday by a lightning strike. It’s burning along the north side of Holmes Gulch Road, near the intersection with Mule Trail Road. Crystal Beckman, fire information officer for the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation County Assist Team, said firefighters were able to put out a number of small spot fires and keep it from crossing the road.
Between 100 and 150 people living in the Holmes Gulch and Martinez Gulch areas, including Mule Trail, Doe Mountain, Timber Lane and Saturn Drive, were evacuated on Thursday. Beckman said those areas remain closed through the day.
“It’s a priority to work with the residents to let them back in as soon as it is safe to do so,” she said.
A Red Cross shelter has been set up for displaced residents at the First Assembly of God Church in Helena.
Beckman said officials hope to make good progress against the fire on Friday, while the weather is expected to be cooler and less windy.
“That will provide some relief,” she said. “They are watching for potential storms here later today that could affect to the south of the fire area, but we should be able to have a good day of work.”
Montana DNRC took over command of the fire Friday morning. They will continue to work along with local agencies, including the Montana City Fire Department and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Around 140 people are currently working on the fire.
Authorities plan to hold a public meeting at Montana City Fire Station 1 at 8 p.m. Friday, where they’ll give area residents an update on the fire and on when the evacuations could be lifted.
For more information follow the Holmes Gulch Fire Facebook page.