GREAT FALLS — The South Moccasin Fire in Fergus County has grown to an estimated 7,000 acres as of Tuesday afternoon.
The fire was reported at about 12:45 a.m. on Monday and is located about seven miles northwest of Lewistown.
The Montana Fire Info website says that it is currently being managed as a Type 3 Incident, with at least 50 personnel on-site, along with aerial resources. Fire behavior is said to be extreme.
Aviation and ground resources responded to the fire on Monday and continue today. Crews were busy on the fire line on the eastern, southern, and northern edges of the fire. Two helicopters were ordered to aid in fire suppression and perform bucket drops.
During initial attack, one helicopter executed a precautionary landing after experiencing a mechanical malfunction. A maintenance team is evaluating what repairs need to be completed to return the aircraft to service. Additional aviation support was requested during the maintenance period.
Denton Highway (MT-81) near west Lewistown has instituted a closure from Mile Marker 24.8 to 42, including the junction with US-191. People are asked to avoid the area as much as possible to allow fire response efforts to get into the area and maintain personal safety. Anyone who is near the area is asked to reduce speed and be mindful of any posted signs restricting access or calling for alternate routes.
Jennifer Saunders of the Fergus County Extension Office posted on Facebook:
Help is needed for fire relief. Collecting supplies at the former Cooler Barn indoor arena. 74 Meadow Brook Drive. Turn left on Hanover Road and then Right on Meadow Brook, like your going to Casino Creek Concrete. We will be making lunches at 11 am today. Bread, lunch meat, sliced cheese, granola.energy bars, ind. Bags of chips welcome plus hands to make sandwiches. We will also collect life savers, cough drops, eye wash, baby/bath wipes, snacks. Water, Gatorade, coffee.. Chris is at the barn now accepting donations.
At this point, there are no reports of any injuries, and no reports of damaged or threatened homes or buildings.
As of Tuesday at noon, there are no evacuations or pre-evacuation orders.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.
Visit the Inciweb site for more information.