NewsWildfire Watch


UPDATE: Matt Staff Fire burns an estimated 1,900 acres, some evacuations remain in place

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Posted at 3:39 PM, Aug 04, 2022

UPDATE 8:45 p.m. - The Matt Staff Fire has burned approximately 1,900 acres according to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that the public can call the public information hotline at (406) 447-8305 for information regarding the Matt Staff Fire.

UPDATE 8:06 p.m. - Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that no structures have been burned by the Matt Staff Fire, but the number of acres burned is unknown at this time. LCCSO carried out 24 evacuations in the affected area.

Tri-Lakes Fire is asking the public to call (406) 431-3600 to report any new fire sightings in the area.

UPDATE 7:30 p.m. - A wildfire that started near Matt Staff Road on the southeast end of Lewis and Clark County raced into the Spokane Hills Thursday afternoon. The fire prompted evacuations in multiple areas... including as far away as West Shore Drive along Canyon Ferry Reservoir.

"It's moving fast with this wind and the hot dry conditions," said Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton.

The fire, fueled by warm and windy conditions, sent up a plume of smoke that could be seen from miles away. Firefighters from across the Helena Valley as well as state and local agencies responded.

Aircrews attacked the fire with helicopters and retardant drops but couldn't keep the flames from burning through fields and reaching the ridge.

"It spot fired over the ridge and into that bowl," said Tri-Lakes Interim Fire Chief Marc Weniger.

A DC-10 "very large air tanker" or V-LAT worked to keep the fire from crossing a second ridge and moving down the hill to West Shore Drive.

Law enforcement closed Spokane Creek Road and evacuated Matt Staff Road and West Shore Drive in Lewis and Clark County. People gathered at Yacht Basin Marina as law enforcement evacuated West Shore Drive.

In Broadwater County, Jimmy Green and Tremper Roads were put under mandatory evacuation, LF Baum and Lazy HM were put under pre-evacuation notice.

Spokane Creek Road reopened around 6 and Matt Staff Rd. reopened to residents about hour after that.

"If you live in the area pay attention to the shifting winds and what the fire's doing," said Broadwater County Undersheriff Brandon Harris.

UPDATE 6:15 p.m. - The Red Cross evacuation center at First Assembly of God Church is open, people affected by the fire can also request Red Cross services by calling 800-272-6668.

UPDATE 5:19 p.m. - An evacuee respite center will be open at the First Assembly of God Church at 2210 Dodge Ave. starting at 6:00 p.m.

The fire is currently being called the "Matt Staff Fire."

Evacuations at 5:00 p.m. include Matt Staff Rd. and West Shore Dr in Lewis and Clark Co. and Jimmy Green Rd. and Tremper Rd. in Broadwater County.

Lazy HM and LF Baum in Broadwater Co. are under pre-evacuation caution.

UPDATE 4:25 p.m. - Sheriff Leo Dutton says they are evacuating West Shore Drive on Canyon Ferry Lake. Dutton says the fire has burned up to the top of a ridge and is continuing to burn east towards Canyon Ferry.

The Broadwater County Sheriff's Office says LF Baum Rd. and Jimmy Green are on evacuation notice and not under an active evacuation at this time.

ORIGINAL STORY - A wildland fire has been reported near Spokane Creek Road on the east side of the Helena Valley.

Fire by Spokane Creek Road

Broadwater County Sheriff’s Office says a large number of first responders are in the area of Spokane Creek subdivision for a fast-moving fire. People are asked to stay out of that area and use caution if they absolutely need to go through there.

Lewis and Clark Sheriff Leo Dutton says evacuations have been issued for Matt Staff Road. The fire is moving fast toward Broadwater County. Residents in the path of the fire should be prepared to evacuate.

MTN has a reporter on the scene who reports at least two helicopters assisting with getting the fire under control.

Editor's note: This is a developing story that will be updated as more information becomes available.