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An update on the three major wildfires burning in southwest Montana for Tuesday, Sept. 4



By Tyler Allen, Staff Writer

SOUTHWEST MONTANA – The Millie Fire, spotted Aug. 28 south of Bozeman, is 10,186 acres and as of this morning remains 10 percent contained. Extremely rough terrain is making progress slow, but firefighters are building containment line and corralling spot fires.

Fire personnel will continue mop up on the southwest side today, reinforcing the existing containment line. Bulldozers are staged in Cottonwood Canyon for deployment if necessary and a structural protection plan has been completed for the Cottonwood area. Helicopters will be dropping water to slow fire progression throughout the day.

Today there are 12 crews, 21 engines, four helicopters, nine dozers and three water tenders working on the fire. A total of 510 personnel are assigned to the incident, including crews from 17 states.

Another fire information meeting will be held tonight at 6 p.m. at Hope Lutheran Church in Bozeman.

The Pine Creek Fire is still burning south of Livingston, though the 8,000-acre fire is now 45 percent contained. Monday’s weather was dry and breezy, resulting in more active fire as fuels dried out from the moisture received on Saturday. The fire was most active in the Pine Creek area and firefighters worked to complete suppression operations in the Deep Creek area.

A weak cold front is expected to move through the area mid-morning today and temperatures are predicted to be much cooler. Helicopters will monitor the Davis Creek area and use bucket drops if fire activity increases. Crews will continue to reinforce the firelines and secure hot-spots on all completed line on the western edge of the fire and firefighters will continue structure protection around private property.

There are approximately 434 personnel assigned to the Pine Creek Fire, including 11 crews, 21 engines, seven water tenders, three dozers and four helicopters.

Fuels in the area are extremely dry and people are urged to travel cautiously with the increased fire traffic and school buses on the roads.

The Pine Creek Fire was detected on Aug. 29, is believed to be human-caused and is currently under investigation.

There will be a Community Information Meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Christian Center across from Town & Country Foods.

The 4,160-acre 19 Mile Fire west of Whitehall is 81 percent contained, and evacuation and closure orders were lifted for the public on Sunday. Crews are continuing to mop up hotspots in the west and northwest part of the fire, which has been hampered by rocky terrain as well as deadfall and hazard snags.

Infra-red flights are being utilized to assist crews on the ground to locate and extinguish hotspots. However, a possible inversion is predicted for today that could hamper air operations.

The informational team is working to inform residents with post fire living conditions and rehabilitation. Information boards are established at Highway 2 and Toll Mtn., Rader Creek, and Cold Springs Roads. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed 14 primary residences and an undetermined number of additional structures have been lost, along with a camp trailer, a semi-trailer and numerous cars, trucks and ATV’s.

The 19 Mile Fire was caused by lightning and spotted Tuesday, Aug. 28.

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