LAME DEER – Crews are battling several wildfires on the Northern Cheyenne reservation Monday that were sparked by a lightning burst Sunday night, according to BIA fire officials.
The Buffalo Springs fire of about 60 acres is burning actively 3 miles southwest of the Lame Deer powwow grounds, sitting north and south in the white Buffalo Creek drainage. A bulldozer created line around about half that fire by noon Monday. The Crow Agency helicopter is assisting.
Crews from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Northern Cheyenne tribe and other agencies are cooperating on the blazes.
The 20-acre Golden Eagle fire has one Northern Cheyenne engine, Bureau of Land Management, and Montana DNRC engines working on it in the Kirby Creek drainage of the Wolf Mountains, a half mile east of the Crow Reservation border.
Thirteen miles southeast of Lame Deer, the Clubfoot fire of about 15 acres has a load of smokejumpers on it. The jumpers had staged in Miles City Sunday to prepare for the lightning.
Near a Kirby ranch, a Southern Pueblo agency engine from New Mexico was working on the 2 acre Wolf Creek fire, which was showing no smoke Monday afternoon.
North of Lame Deer, four separate fires in Lynch Coulee are mostly contained by either bulldozer lines or natural barriers like rock outcroppings.
The Big Lynch fire west of Jimtown was contained at 18 acres, and the 12 acre Upper Lynch Coulee fire is more than half contained. The Fourth Coulee fire in the east drainage of Lynch Coulee is 40 percent lined by bulldozer. The 1 acre Cutacross fire was in the same drainage.
The contained Otherbull fire was caught by firefighters as a single tree flaming from a lightning strike.
Fire management officer Adam Wolf said two waves of dry lightning sparked the blazes. About 9:30 p.m., lightning caused the Kirby fires, then another waves struck an hour later by Lynch Coulee