GREAT FALLS — UPDATE: Evacuation order will be lifted soon for Denton
(WEDNESDAY 6:41 p.m.) As of Wednesday evening, the town of Denton remains under an evacuation order due to a fast-moving wildfire.
The Northern Rockies Coordination Center estimates that the fire has burned about 7,000 acres, and there are more than 50 personnel assigned.
The evacuation order was issued at about 1:30 p.m. after the West Wind Fire began approaching the community.
The Fergus County Disaster & Emergency Services office confirmed at 6:30 p.m. that the evacuation order is still in effect, but was not able to provide any other information.
We have received unconfirmed reports that several buildings in Denton have been heavily damaged or destroyed, but there has been no verification by the Sheriff's Office, DES, or fire officials at this point.
There have not been any reported injuries as of Wednesday evening.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
Denton is burning. There's not much they can do at this point I'm told. Please send good vibes, mojo, love, prayers, or whatever you've got to the folks affected by this. So devastating. This photo is of my cousin's garage burning right next to the house in the foreground pic.twitter.com/PYm1FBeFJO— Arin Peters (@arinpeters) December 1, 2021
New information is not likely to be available until Thursday morning; we will keep you updated.
(WEDNESDAY, 1:44 p.m.) The town of Denton in Fergus County is being evacuated due to a wildfire.
From the Fergus County Sheriff's Office: "PLEASE STAY OUT OF THE DENTON AREA!!! Highways are closed and evacuations have already taken place. Thank you for your cooperation!"
Denton Public School said: "We have evacuated the school per the recommendation of DES at 1:30 today. All students have been released to parents or are with us on a bus east of town on Hoosac Rd awaiting pick up."
Fergus County and the American Red Cross have set up an emergency shelter at the Lewistown Civic Center, located at 309 5th Avenue.
The West Wind Fire broke out late on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, and although emergency crews have been battling it since then, the extremely powerful winds continue pushing the flames toward the east.
Wind gusts have exceeded 70 miles per hour.
Wind gusts are really hampering any containment efforts and these 60-70mph+ wind gusts look to continue throughout the day. Route 81 towards Coffee Creek will remain closed at least for a few hours as part of a railroad bridge is on fire. #MTwx pic.twitter.com/v6C3IsZn91— Erik Johnson (@erik_wx) December 1, 2021
Route 81 toward Coffee Creek remains closed because part of a railroad bridge is on fire.
There are no reports of any injuries at this point.
We will update you as we get more information.
(WEDNESDAY, 8:28 a.m.) Fergus County Fire Warden Ryan Peterson says that the Westwind Fire, near Denton, continues burning along Highway 80 north of Stanford.
The fire was reported at about 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
Strong winds quickly pushed the fire east across Highway 80 toward Denton.
There are no reports of damaged structures, and no reports of any injuries at this point.
Mutual aid was requested from several agencies and surrounding counties.
Suppression efforts are still underway but are improving.
Peterson says there is no threat to the community of Denton at this time and no evacuation orders have been issued.
Power lines are believed to have started the fire, but information is still being gathered to determine the cause.
We will update you if we get more information.