UPDATE: Clancy area fire estimated to be 1800 acres, evacuations ordered

Posted at 4:13 PM, Jun 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-14 00:58:03-04

CLANCY — UPDATE 10:30 P.M.: A late update puts the fire at an estimated 1,800 acres.

A Type III incident management team is expected to arrive Sunday morning. Other resources headed to the fire include four 20 person hand crews and a two Hot Shot teams.

According to the Jefferson Co. Sheriff's Office the only area currently under an evacuation order is the Sheep Mountain subdivision.

Pre-evacuation notices listed by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office include:

  • Jackson Creek
  • Holmes Gulch
  • Tucker Gulch (Dry Gulch)
  • Unionville
  • Travis Creek
  • Davis Gulch
  • Blue Sky Hieghts
  • Forest Park Estates
  • Ohio Gulch

Residents in these locations should be prepared to evacuate in the event it becomes necessary.

JCSO says resources and agencies working the fire are Clancy VFD, Montana City VFD, US Forest Service fire and law enforcement personnel, DNRC personnel, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Deputies, Lewis and Clark Sheriff's Deputies, and the Montana Highway Patrol.

People are asked to stay out of the fire area to allow emergency personnel to safely work.

The Lump Gulch Fire has also been placed on the national incident management website Inciweb.

UPDATE 7:00 p.m.: According to DNRC the fire burning west of Clancy began around 3:30 p.m. in the Lump Gulch area.

Officials say over the course of about an hour strong winds pushed the fire, helping it grow considerably prompting the evacuation of between 20 and 25 homes.

Montana DNCR Central Land Office Area Manager Hoyt Richards told members of the media that ground teams estimated the fire to be between 200 and 400 acres. However, Richards said that is a very rough guess due to the terrain and thick smoke.

The fire is burning in a densely forested area. Fire crews had to cut a path to the fire through the trees over steep and rugged terrain. The also faced trees knocked down by strong winds in the area.

Richards says firefighter safety is a top priority, and they're taking all necessary steps to ensure crew safety.

There are three DNRC helicopters currently assisting with fire suppression. Wind is a concern and may limit their ability to assist.

A Type 3 Incident Command Structure is being developed to take over the fire.

All evacuation orders will be coming from local sheriff departments. The Helena-Lewis and Clark 911 Center said on Facebook around 7:00 p.m. that no evacuations had been ordered for the South Hills area of Helena. Several areas in Lewis and Clark County are under a pre-evacuation notice.

Those areas include:

  • Unionville and surrounding areas
  • Upper Grizzly Gulch
  • Holmes Gulch
  • Tucker Gulch
  • Dry Gulch
  • Brooklyn Bridge to the North

Pre-evacuation means you should gather any belongings you might need to take with you and be prepared to leave should an evacuation be ordered. The Lewis and Clark Co. Sheriff's Office says anyone who does not feel safe is advised to leave and not wait for an evacuation notice.

Public safety officials in both Jefferson and Lewis and Clark counties have asked residents to not call 911 with questions about the fire.

The Montana Red Cross gas opened a shelter the La Quinta Inn at 701 Washington St. in Helena. Families will stay in individual rooms and extra precautions will be taken in response to COVID-19.

Families who need services should call the Montana Red Cross at 800-272-6668.

UPDATE 5:35 PM: Several homes have been evacuated as a result of a wildfire burning west of Clancy. According to Clancy Fire Information Officer Pat McKelvey several homes in the Little Buffalo Creek area, residents on Sheep Mountain and a home in Montana City near one of the drainages have been evacuated.

McKelvey says the strong winds are spreading the fire from Lump Gulch to the northeast and it is expected to continue to move toward Park Lake. The U.S. Forest Service is currently working to notify people in the Park Lake area.

Firefighters from Clancy, Montana City, the U.S. Forest Service, DNRC and other volunteer agencies are helping fight the fire.

A helicopter is assisting with fire suppression.

McKelvey says no structures have been damaged at this time, but power is out in some areas west of Travis Creek. The cause of the fire, size and exact start time have not yet been determined.

The Red Cross is setting up a shelter at the La Quinta Inn in Helena for anyone who needs assistance.

Also, Lewis and Clark Public Health said on Facebook that air quality in Montana was poor and advised people to close their window and stay indoors. They added that people with serious lung conditions should leave the area or take extra precautions until the smoke clears.

ORIGINAL STORY: Several agencies are responding to a wild-land fire west of Clancy near Sheep Mountain.

At 4:00 p.m. the fire is estimated to be about 50 acres and is currently moving north.

Emergency services is advising anyone who's home is being encroached on by the fire, or is currently in the immediate surrounding area to evacuate.

We have a reporter heading to Clancy and will provide more information as it become available.