MISSOULA — The Missoula Fire Department was dispatched just after 1:15 p.m. Tuesday for a wildland fire on Waterworks Hill as reports of smoke and flame being seen from Interstate 90 all the way across town started pouring in.
When the fire department arrived on the scene with three engines and a water tender, the grass fire had already grown to three acres due to gusty wind conditions.
Additional Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) and US Forest Service engines were called in along with a helicopter.
Crews were able to hold the fire at the main hiking trail while the helicopter made several drops near the power lines.
Once contained, the fire had burned approximately 18 acres.
The cause is still being investigated.
Missoula Parks and Recreation is reminding hikers to stay on trails and refrain from smoking.
Additionally, freshly burned grasslands are especially prone to trampling, trail creation and erosion.
City Conservation Lands staff members will assess and address any restoration opportunities this fire provided.