By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Staff Writer

EMIGRANT – Firefighting crews have been battling a 419-acre blaze south of Emigrant Peak in Paradise Valley since Sunday, with 40 people on the ground.

The lightning-caused Emigrant Fire has likely been burning since Wednesday, July 17, and was detected Sunday morning. It’s burning in thick timber with a large amount of dead and down fuels. The Helena hotshot crew arrived at the incident Monday afternoon, and two helicopters shuttled the crew and their gear to a spike camp near the fire line.

Firefighters have reported large boulders and ground fuels rolling down the steep terrain, igniting unburned fuel below the fire perimeter.

Although there is not an immediate threat to private property, the Gallatin National Forest expects the fire to burn for quite some time and warns the influence of weather can rapidly change conditions.

Located between Gold Prize Creek and the North Fork of Sixmile Creek, the size of the Emigrant Fire was initially reported as 30 acres on Sunday, but was estimated at 250 acres after fire officials flew over it Monday morning. The west shore access road at Dailey Lake and the road up Sixmile Creek, from its junction with Dailey Lake Road, are closed until further notice.