Home Emergency Management News Thunderstorm Sparks Wildfires in Three Montana Counties
Thunderstorm Sparks Wildfires in Three Montana Counties

Thunderstorm Sparks Wildfires in Three Montana Counties

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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest

While the southeast and Atlantic coast states are in the midst of the 2019 hurricane season, across the continent, residents in the northwest are bracing for the annual outbursts of wildfires.

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An early afternoon thunderstorm Tuesday sparked a series of wildfires in three Montana counties – Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, and Broadwater, the Helena Independent Record reported.

State of Emergency Declared in Missoula County Due to 'Very High' Fire Danger

As a precaution, Missoula County commissioners declared a state of emergency because of increasing fire danger, NBC Montana said. Officials explained that prolonged wind and above average temperatures combined to bring the fire danger into the “very high” category.

Firefighter Injured at Beeskove Fire North of Missoula

One firefighter was injured Tuesday afternoon at the Beeskove Fire in the Rattlesnake area north of Missoula, NBC Montana reported.

“Around 4:45 p.m. crews requested an emergency medical evacuation for the firefighter, who had a lower leg injury,” the TV news report said. “The firefighter was airlifted to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula and is reported to be in stable condition.” The firefighter’s name was not released.

Infrared Aerial Photos Show Beeskove Fire Has Grown

An early-morning infrared flight over the Beeskove Fire outside Missoula showed 211 acres on fire. Infrared technicians estimated that the fire had grown 29 acres in the last 24-hour period.

In Lewis and Clark County, Sheriff Leo Dutton announced that “the small community of Nelson and other residences in the Beaver Creek area have been ordered to evacuate due to this fire.” He said law enforcement officers had visited 12 homes to issue the warning.

The fire at Owl Gulch, about a mile south of Nelson, has displayed only minimal to moderate fire activity, burning in grass and brush, Kathy Bushnell with the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest told the Independent Record. One hotshot crew was assigned to the fire.

Devil's Tower, burning about a mile and a half southwest of Nelson, was much more active, Bushnell added. “The fire is burning in timber and firefighters on scene reported seeing some trees torching and crowning. Two air tankers and more than 20 firefighters were on the fire Tuesday evening,” she said.

The U.S. Forest Service cited “public safety purposes during fire suppression work” in announcing the temporary closing of portions of the Helmville-Gould Trail.

Online Resources Are Available

Although Montana is sparsely populated with slightly more than one million residents, 28% percent of homes in the state are “at high or extreme risk of wildfire damage,” according to the Insurance Information Institute.

As a result, NBC Montana aired a list of online resources where state residents and anyone else can get information about wildfires and ways to protect their families, homes and other property:

David Hubler David E. Hubler brings a variety of government, journalism and teaching experience to his position as a Quality Assurance Editor at APUS. David’s professional background includes serving as a senior editor at CIA and the Voice of America. He has also been a managing editor for several business-to-business and business-to-government publishing companies. David has taught high school English in Connecticut and at Northern Virginia Community College. He has a master’s degree for Teachers of English from the University of New Hampshire and a B.A. in English from New York University. In March 2017, Rowman & Littlefield published the paperback edition of David’s latest book, "The Nats and the Grays, How Baseball in the Nation's Capital Survived WWII and Changed the Game Forever."