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Hauser Dam energy operations suspended for days due to North Hills Fire, now back to full production

Posted at 6:56 PM, Jul 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 20:57:26-04

HELENA – The North Hills Fire forced NorthWestern Energy to suspend operations at Hauser Dam for several days.

A company spokesperson reported they were told the fire was coming toward the dam Saturday.

Northwestern made the decision to shut down generation units and evacuate the facility.

Hauser Dam was then monitored and controlled from Great Falls.

Two operators returned to the facility Tuesday morning, with permission from fire officials, and had production back at full capacity by the end of the day.

Should conditions change, the operators may need to evacuate again.

NorthWestern said they’ve had minimal other interruptions related to the fire.

On Monday evening, they had an outage to about four dozen customers in an evacuated area.

That service was restored Tuesday morning.

The fire did burn under one of the transmission lines, but it does not appear to have sustained any damage due to the fact that the structures were recently changed out with ductile iron.

NorthWestern say they haven’t found damage at other electrical distribution facilities.