Posted: Aug 30, 2012 6:48 AM by Jamie Leary & Shannon Davis - MTN News
Updated: Aug 30, 2012 9:28 AM
BUTTE- Fire officials say the 19 Mile fire South of Butte is still growing quickly.
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Fire Program Manager Greg Archie also told us at least four structures have been consumed by the fire in the Radar Creek area, and that several more have been burned.
"Many, many threatened and still remain threatened," said Archie.
Residents in the Toll Mountain area were evacuated on Tuesday around 5 p.m.
"It was a pretty wide area that the sheriff's office did evacuate yesterday," Archie said. "Somewhere around a hundred residents have been evacuated."
On Wednesday afternoon they were permitted to return to their homes for a short while to retrieve valuables from a back road accessible from the Cactus Junction off Highway 2.
At this time authorities do not know when residents will be able to return home.
The fire started on Tuesday around 3:50 p.m. and scorched between 1,000 and 3,000 acres in less than 24 hours, according to Archie.
"Fire conditions are at their peak right now, and things aren't going to get any better today for sure," Archie said.
There are 60 to 80 people working on the line from Butte-Silver Bow, Jefferson, Madison, and Beaverhead counties. Three helicopters are on the scene and they are expecting more resources.
"What we're trying to do is get resources from neighboring counties to come and help Jefferson County so the folks that did stay out all night have a chance to get a little sleep," Archie said.
A Type II Incident Management Team will be assuming command around 6 a.m. Thursday morning, but as many as 50 of those team members are on the ground now arranging that transition.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Wednesday they will donate funds to help the county.
Butte resident Kayla Lambrecht, along with Whitehall resident Bernie McCarthy, have also set up a relief fund for those who have lost homes or suffered otherwise as a result of the fire. The account is set up through Glacier Bank and is called 19 Mile Fire Relief. For questions about donations, contact Kayla Richards at (406) 498.9241.