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Residents survey damage caused by wildfire north of Great Falls

The fire sparked just after 1 p.m. on Monday
Posted at 5:03 PM, Sep 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 12:33:38-04

Residents outside of Great Falls are cleaning up after a Labor Day fire .

“I came out here from town approximately 2 o’clock and I seen some smoke along the horizon over here a couple miles away,” resident Stanley Clinton said.

The fire ignited just after 1 p.m. on Monday. Residents in the area say it spread fast.

“The wind was blowing southwest like it normally does and I didn’t have any concerns,” Clinton said.

It wasn’t long before the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office evacuated Golden Valley Loop and the surrounding areas.

“We loaded up our three dogs and the wife and went in to town and spent some time at a friend’s house until it all was brought under control,” Clinton said. “They didn’t have to tell me to leave. I assumed it was the thing to do. It was frightening.”

Around 7 p.m. CCSO announced the fire was contained and residents were allowed back onto their properties.

“It’s a difficult thing to see,” resident Chad Danielson said.

Danielson says he estimates he lost $15-20,000 of property.

“There used to be a building standing here that was I don’t even know how many thousand dollars’ worth of stuff was burnt up that was in there that belonged to me,” Danielson said. “It’s hard. It’s hard to look at it. You work your whole life to buy these toys and their gone.”

At this time the cause and the size of the fire are unknown.

“The smell is going to hang on for a long time until we get some rain or something,” Clinton said.

The CCSO is investigating.

In a press release on Monday evening, Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter said the fire is contained, and is being investigated by the Cascade County Sheriff's Office, and an update will be provided when the investigation is complete.

Sheriff Slaughter also thanked "all of the first responders and firefighters who are working hard on this fire."

The cause and size of the fire have not yet been determined.

At this point, there are no reported injuries. Sheriff Slaughter says that several outbuildings were burned, and possibly two homes or trailers.

The fire sparked just after 1 p.m. on Monday and spread quickly through the community in and around Golden Valley Loop, just west of Vinyard Road. Evacuations were ordered for the people who lived in the area.

Firefighters from surrounding areas - including Vaughn, Ulm, and Black Eagle - quickly converged on the area to tackle the fire. At around 7 p.m., Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter announced that the fire was contained.

The fire also damaged several utility poles in the area, causing a power outage for hundreds of people stretching to Sun Prairie, Vaughn, and Power. Power was restored within two hours by NorthWestern Energy.

The cause and exact size of the fire is still being investigated.