CONRAD - Pondera County fire officials were dispatched to a fire along Highway 91 three miles north of Conrad on Wednesday at about 3:30 pm.
The grass fire accelerated quickly as a cold front brought wind gusts of more than 50 mph throughout the region. The fire is estimated to have charred 2,186 acres.
On Thursday, firefighters continued to extinguish hot spots and small haystack fires.
The DeVries family lost its homestead in the fire. A GoFundMe has been created to help the family; it states:
They were able to get out of the house in time with just the clothes on their backs. 12 years of blood, sweat, and tears working the land and making their house a home was gone in a flash.
Click here if you would like to donate.
The cause of the fire is being investigated by the state fire marshal.
Conrad's volunteer fire chief Kevin Moritz noted, "We're leaning towards electrical or sparked by something on the highway."
Pondera County ranks among the worst drought areas across the state, making the area particularly susceptible to fires.
The swift and collective response by the DNRC, several fire departments, nearby Hutterite colonies, and area farmers and ranchers is being praised by community members.
The Conrad Chamber of Commerce praised firefighters in Thursday's meeting.
"Basically just want to thank everybody that helped because without everybody working on this there's just no way to cover that much. We really appreciate the help," Moritz said.