Posted: Jul 20, 2012 8:35 AM by Mark Thorsell - KPAX News
Updated: Jul 20, 2012 8:37 AM
GARRISON- Firefighters are hoping for Friday morning's cooler and wetter weather will help as they try to suppress the Wet Cottonwood Fire that's burning north of Garrison.
There are three helicopters working on the blaze, along with two hotshot crews, the Montana State Prison 20-man crew, and 10 smokejumpers. The lightning-sparked fire did not grow overnight and is still reported at 25 acres.
Paula Short with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation says air tankers were called in and made several water drops in hopes of knocking back flames as "firefighters hiked through rugged, remote country to reach the fire."
She adds that steep terrain, dense timber and beetle-killed trees have combined to make the Wet Cottonwood Fire difficult to fight, and Friday's weather forecast doesn't look good. A passing cold front could bring gusty winds and more lightning to the area.
"It's cool and overcast at the fire this morning," said DNRC Anaconda Unit Manager Fred Staedler. "We'll try to take advantage of that to continue work on line construction and reinforcement."
Staedler noted the firefighters that three 20-person crews and 10 smokejumpers will be assisted again on Friday from the air by three helicopters.
The Wet Cottonwood Fire is roughly 15 miles north of Garrison Junction.