BUTTE – Firefighters from several departments rushed out to a large brush fire in Fairmont just west of Butte Friday afternoon that was sparked by a Burlington Northern train passing through the area. Responders had to act quickly to save structures in the area.
“We set up a structure protection on this structure right here, obviously you can see the large propane tank right behind there, we’re worried about the fire because it was blowing from the south to the north toward us,” said Butte Battalion Chief Rick Ryan.
The fight was a challenge because of the lack of fire hydrants and a natural water source in the area.
“We got a tinder/shuttle operation set up where all these big water trucks fill the small six brush trucks and they go out into the fire and start putting it out,” Ryan said.
Fire officials say even though this area was covered with snow and moisture not that long ago, conditions for a wildfire can still occur at any time.
“We’ve had several grass fires in Butte already this season, we’ve had fires as early as March, so you get a day like this that the dry grass, the winds picked up, it doesn’t take much as you can see probably just a couple sparks off of some rail wheels were able to kick this fire up and let it take off,” Ryan said.
Firefighters knocked down the flames but will continue to monitor the field for hot spots.
Reporting by John Emeigh for MTN News