HELENA — The Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest says firefighters are working to extinguish a fire burning in the Wood Lake area of the Rocky Mountain Ranger District. Wood Lake is near Benchmark, west of Augusta.
The fire is estimated to about 50 acres in size and is believed to be hold-over from a lightning strike earlier this month. No structures are threatened and no evacuations have been ordered at this time.
The U.S. Forest Service says the Lewis & Clark County Sheriff's Office and the Augusta Volunteer Fire Department are monitoring the situation. Emergency officials have also begun coordinating with outfitters and guides, recreational residents, and ranchers with cattle permits.
The Rocky Mountain Ranger District has closed the Petty Crown Trail Head and Loop Trail.
According to posts on Facebook, two Type 1 heavy helicopter along with the Lewis & Clark Hotshots and ranger district personnel are working to suppress the fire. One load of fire retardant has been dropped on the fire from a very large air tanker (VLAT) and a second drop has been requested.
A Type III incident management team will take over the fire on Tuesday.
Officials say the fire is burning in the same area as the Benchmark Fuels Mitigation Project. The project was recently completed and aimed to limit available fuels should a fire spark in the area.
A fire information telephone line has been established at 406-750-8934.
We will update you if we get more information.