GREAT FALLS — The Harris Mountain Fire (Inciweb) has burned an estimated 24,558 acres as of 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 28 - an increase of 5,455 acres since Monday. There is no containment at this point.
The fire was sparked by lightning on Friday, July 23, and is about seven miles south/southeast of the town of Cascade. As of Wednesday, there have been no reported injuries or damaged structures.
Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 7 commander John Thompson says that most of the growth was on the southern end of the fire, and an updated map will be published as soon it is available.
Several helicopters put in more than 20 hours of flight time dropping water to slow the fire spread on the northwest and southeast edges of the fire.
The northwest portion of the fire is holding between the South and North Fork of Sheep Creek. The southwestern portion of the fire has reached the Cascade and Lewis & Clark County Line. The southeastern portion of the fire has crossed portions of the West Fork of Hound Creek.
No new evacuation notices or orders have been issued.
A community meeting will be held on Thursday, July 29, at 10 a.m. at Wedsworth Hall in Cascade.
On Monday afternoon the Cascade County Sheriff's Office issued a mandatory evacuation order for all residents on Sheep Creek Lane, Sheep Creek Road, and Austin Lane. The alert stated that those residents are in imminent danger due to the fire and that first responders would not enter the area to rescue residents who did not evacuate.
Residents on Novak Creek Lane were issued a pre-evacuation warning on Monday afternoon. Pre-evacuation means that people in the affected area should prepare to evacuate if the need arises, including having a "go bag" packed with necessary items.
- Face masks or coverings
- Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
- Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
- Prescriptions or special medications
- Change of clothing
- Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
- An extra set of car keys; credit cards and/or cash
- First aid kit
- Flashlight; battery-powered radio and extra batteries
- Sanitation supplies
- Copies of vital documents (birth certificates, passports, etc.)
On Sunday evening, Cascade County issued a mandatory evacuation order for all residents south of mile marker 7 on Adel Road due to a lack of escape routes.
Approximately 60 residences have been affected by the evacuation orders and notifications. The American Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at the Cascade School (321 Central Ave W) for residents displaced by the Harris Mountain Fire. Families can also request Red Cross services by calling 800-272-6668.
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