Blacktail Fire getting county attention

The Blacktail Fire in the Crazy Mountains has garnered the attention of crews from Meagher, Wheatland and Sweet Grass Counties. 

As of the morning on Sept. 12, three Big Timber Volunteer Fire Department trucks, one contracted water tender, the fire chief, four Melville trucks and the Sweet Grass County Sheriff were helping tame the fire. 

A DNRC Type 3 team and smokejumpers were in control of the fire as of 6 p.m. on Sept. 12.

The fire exploded from 500 acres to 4,000-5,000 acres of land Wednesday afternoon. The initial cause of the fire was a lightning strike. 

Officials are working on a more accurate size of the blaze.

“We expect that number to get firmed up,” said Erin Fryer, a spokeswoman for the Blacktail Fire. She explained that conditions have prevented infrared readings by air that provide statistics on a fire’s size, perimeter and hot spot locations.

What was thought to have only burned up about 25 acres exploded overnight on Sept. 11 into the morning of Sept. 12. High winds and dry heat helped fuel the fire into the afternoon on Sept. 12. “The winds have been pushing it predominately to the southeast,” Fryer said, but noted that with an expected cold front moving in, north winds could push the wildfire south.

Currently, smokejumpers, fire engines and bulldozers are working on the scene, with the help of local ranchers and fire departments from Two Dot, Melville and Sweet Grass County. About 200 people are involved in the effort.

The fire was reported at 2 p.m. on Sept. 10. Containment percentage was not listed on the inciweb.com report.

PHOTO CAPTION: A look at the east side of the Blacktail Fire from Sept. 10 (KARI TRONRUD / Big Timber Pioneer).

By DWIGHT HARRIMAN, STEPHEN-KALB KOENIGSFELD / Yellowstone Newspapers

 

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