GREAT FALLS — The Balsinger Fire and Ellis Fire are being managed jointly as the Divide Complex fires.
A Type 3 Incident Management Team is in command of the fire, being led by Incident Commander Zach Saavedra and trainee Brad Tausan.
A community meeting will be held on Monday at 4 p.m. in Neihart Community Park. Seating is limited; people may want to bring their own chair. Maps and updates will be available for both the Balsinger and Ellis Fires. Representatives from the Incident Management Team and the U.S. Forest Service will be available to answer them.
People who are unable to attend, the fire information line is 406-272-6349 and is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. with general information.
The Balsinger Fire is now estimated at 1,688 acres, with no containment as of Monday; it was sparked by lightning.
An evacuation order from the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office remains in effect for residents of Belt Park due to the Balsinger Fire.
The Ellis Fire has burned an estimated 1,058 acres and is 25% contained; the cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
There have been no injuries reported, and no reports of damaged structures.
The Divide Complex has 249 personnel assigned. This includes five Type 2 handcrews, one Type 1 hotshot crew, sixteen Type 6 engines, one Type 5 engine, two Type 4 engines, one Type 3 engine, three dozers, one skidgen unit, and three water tenders.
For the next operational period, resources on the Balsinger Fire will focus on keeping the fire north of the Divide Road, addressing any slop-overs and connecting burned areas together eliminating unburned fuels.
Structure preparation continues in the Belt Parkway area. On the Ellis Fire, mop-up and securing existing fireline will take place on the northern flank. Ignitions to secure the fire perimeter may occur in the western portion.
Two Type 2 helicopters and one Type 1 helicopters are available for bucket drops and other support missions.