HELENA – The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) reports a fire burning in central Montana grew Sunday after being driven by red flag conditions.
Late Sunday evening a large plume of smoke could be seen north of the Helena Valley. DNRC Public Information Officer Martin Balukas says that fire is the Shellrock Fire which is s burning in timber on Shellrock Ridge behind the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness on the east side of the Missouri River.
The fire — which is estimated at 125 acres — is burning on a mix of state and private land near the Beartooth Wildlife Management Area. Balukas says the area is remote and difficult to access.
One DNRC engine team and six smoke jumpers are working the fire. The DNRC has requested more smokejumpers and a larger incident management team.
At this time it not threatening any structures.
A small fire that broke out on private land in Helena’s North Hills on Sunday is now under control with firefighters remaining on scene to make sure the fire does not spread. There is no estimate on the fire’s size.
The DNRC is also working on a fire in the Cuniff Basin area south of Bean Lake.
Meanwhile, officials with the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest said late Sunday that the Trail 467 fire burning southeast of Lincoln was 60% contained. The weather prompted the Lewis and Clark Co. Sheriff’s Office to put residents in the McQuithy Gulch and Marsh Creek area on pre-evacuation notice.
Crews will work on strengthening the fire line on Monday. Information boards will be posted at the Lincoln Ranger Station, Lincoln Post Office, and Canyon Creek Country Store.
That fire has burned about 20 acres.