GREAT FALLS – The lightning-sparked Shellrock Fire, centered about 25 miles north of Helena, has burned an estimated 350 acres as of Thursday morning, and is about 15% contained.
There have been no injuries and no damaged buildings at this point. There are about 59 personnel assigned to the fire.
The fire, which was sparked on August 11, is burning heavy timber and grass in steep remote country with extremely difficult access.
It is primarily located in the Beartooth Wildlife Management Area and portions of private ranchlands.
The fire is about five miles north of Beaver Creek Road, and two miles west of Middle Creek Lake.
A high-voltage powerline and pipeline is in the area but not threatened at this time, along with two ranch cabins and a historic cabin.
The Department of Natural Resources & Conservation County Assist Team, Incident Commander David Hamilton, is in place and managing the fire while working closely with local landowners, Cascade County, Fish Wildlife and Parks, and interagency fire cooperators.
Fourteen U.S. Forest Service Smokejumpers arrived on Sunday and began working the fire with one DNRC engine crew. Two Single Engine Air Tankers also assisted on the fire Sunday. The planned burn out operation Monday August 13th was completed in the late afternoon and into the evening. The burn went well due to the favorable burning conditions and firefighters’ hard work.
The Beartooth Wildlife Management Area is closed due to fire activity and will open as soon as it is safe to do so.
The 467 Trail Fire southeast of Lincoln has burned an estimated 23 acres and is about 30% contained as of Thursday.
The lightning-sparked fire is in the Poorman Creek area (T13N, R7W, Section 32)
A pre-evacuation notice remains in-place for residents in the McQuithy Gulch and Marsh Creek areas.
There have been no reported injuries or damaged homes/buildings.
Reporting by David Sherman for MTN News