HELENA – Fire crews performed mop up operations on Tuesday Sep. 11 for the now-named Cottonwood fire that burned nearly 500 acres 7 miles east of Townsend.
Fire fighters cleared trees, bushes and dug up stumps throughout the day to ensure the fire doesn’t spread any further.
In total the fire burned 499 acres is a grass and timber terrain near US Highway 12.
No injuries were reported and no structures were damaged as a result of the fire.
Firefighters first responded to fire around 6 pm on Monday Sep. 10 after a planned weed burn on a farm escaped the fire line.
The landowner had a burn permit before he started the fire and they had done another burn earlier on Monday that was successful .
However, fire officials believe the fireline for the planned burn should have been about twice the size it was.
Broadwater County Rural Fire District Chief Ed Shindoll said responders from Townsend, Duck Creek, Winston, Radersberg, Toston, the DNRC, and the Forest Service spent 10 straight hours fighting the wildland fire on Monday night.
Shindoll stressed that people need to be cautious and vigilant when starting a burn and urges residents to contact their local fire officials if they have any questions.
“Your district fire personnel would be happy to go out and explain some stuff or give you some different ideas,” said Shindoll, “Working the line is good but you need to have barren soil when you do it and the wider the better.”
Shindoll believes that if the weather hadn’t been in the fire crews’ favor the fire could have been thousands of acres instead of hundreds.
Shindoll added that he is incredibly proud of the work the fire crews did fighting the fire and greatly appreciates the mutual aid agencies that responded.