Firefighters report that they have made significant progress fighting several lightning-sparked wildfires that are burning in Northwest Montana.
Thanks to slightly cooler temps the region saw over the last couple days -- and a Type-Two Incident Command team assuming management of the fires -- some of the smaller fires burning in Northwest Montana are now contained.
Incident Commander John Thompson says they will still be monitored but the resources will be sent to the other fires.
"The small fires are the ones that for us if we can get those taken care of their a fire that we don't have to manage and we can put into a Patrol State where we just have to check them with one of our aircraft," Thompson said.
The largest fire burning in Northwest Montana is the Lazier Creek 3 Fire and was 30% contained as of Wednesday. It's consumed more than 1,100 acres and the area is evacuated.
The wildfire is burning about 200 yards away from the Bend Guard Station in Sanders County and dozers and hand crews along with heavy helicopter support are continuing with fire line construction.
An additional 50 to 60 manpower resources were brought in earlier this week, something Thompson says they were lucky to get. "we're competing against a bunch of other places not only in the state but across the nation for the same firefighting resources."
This is the second fire season for Jackson Brittner a Type-Two Fuel Tender operator from Missoula and says with fire all around safety is always the number one thing on his mind. He says he always has his fire blanket accessible and knows his escape routes.
"Your own security is going to get you out of this fire so as long as you come in here knowing that you're responsible for your safety, it works," Brittner said.
Temperatures are expected to continue to warm up this week as relative humidity decreases. Winds are expected to be light and terrain driven. Several cabins have been evacuated and there are road closures in the area of the 1,145 acre Lazier Creek 3 fire.
Meanwhile, the Roger Mountain Fire where a pre-evacuation is in place also saw progress overnight and is 49% contained That fire has burned about 69 acres.
Over 300 people are now assigned to battle the lightning-sparked northwest Montana blazes