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Gusty winds fan wildfire near Whitehall

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Posted at 2:20 PM, Sep 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-04 16:20:54-04

Fire officials from the Butte Ranger District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest responded to a new fire start near State Creek over this past weekend.

The fire was caused by lightning on Aug. 25 and went undetected until Aug. 29.

The blaze is about 40 acres in an area difficult for firefighters to access due to rough terrain, numerous snags, and a significant amount of dead and down trees, about two miles northeast of the Whitetail Reservoir, approximately 16 miles northeast of Whitehall.

On Thursday, due to gusty winds, the fire spotted out east of the main perimeter ½ mile. Two helicopters dropped several buckets of water to slow the spread of the fire. Currently, crews are implementing an indirect line to create fuel breaks along roads and private inholdings.

The fuel breaks are in preparation for any possible spread of the fire. Fire officials are hopeful the indirect line, additional fire personnel, and the assistance of Jefferson County will protect private property that may be in the fire’s path. Smoke is visible from the Whitetail Road and may be visible from Whitehall.

Crews on the fire include a Type 2 crew from Oregon, a 10-person crew from the Kootenai National Forest, 1 water tender and engine from Jefferson County, a smokejumper module from West Yellowstone - in total about 50 people are working on the fire.

Photos courtesy of Inciweb