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Wildfire near Red Lodge possibly human-caused; authorities looking at suspect

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Posted at 9:15 AM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 11:27:10-04

UPDATE 4:45 p.m. - June 16, 2021

RED LODGE - Carbon County Attorney Alex Nixon said on Wednesday afternoon the cause of the Robertson Draw fire is being investigated as "human caused."

Nixon also says that a joint investigation between the United States Forest Service and the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office has identified a potential suspect.

Carbon County Sheriff Josh McQuillan said at a community briefing Wednesday night that authorities have made contact with the suspect but he is not in custody.

At that same meeting, Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz said the evacuation on the east side of Highway 212 had been lifted. Authorities also confirmed the loss of eight major structures and 13 out buildings.

Evacuation Orders are still in place for North and South Grove Creek, Gold Creek, Ruby Creek and Robertson Draw east to Highway 72.

All other evacuation orders and evacuation warnings have been lifted. This does not include the USDA Forest Service Recreation Residences in Corral Creek, Spring Creek, Snow Creek, and Sheep Creek.

Reporting by Brandon Warren and David Jay, Q2 News


(first report: 9:25 a.m. - June 16, 2021)

RED LODGE - The Robertson Draw Fire outside Red Lodge grew to 21,000 acres overnight.

Evacuations remain in place Wednesday for several areas:

  • Area south of Highway 308 from Red Lodge to Highway 72, east of 72 to the Wyoming border. This excludes the town of Bearcreek and Belfry.
  • The area west of Meeteetse Trail Road, and the east side of Highway 212 from Meeteetse Trail Road to Westminster Spires Church Camp.
  • USDA Forest Service Recreation Residences in Corral Creek, Spring Creek, Snow Creek, and Sheep Creek.
  • All campgrounds, dispersed camping and trailheads from the Lake Fork north to Red Lodge including the dispersed camping area just west of the Lake Fork Road.

Fire officials said the blaze that started Sunday afternoon remains "very active," burning along the east side of Line Creak Plateau and has moved around Mount Maurice.

An evacuation warning has been issued for the town of Bearcreek.

An area closure is in place for the area south of Highway 212, east to the area along the Beartooth Front and south to the Wyoming border. This does not include the campgrounds and homes along East Side Road. Line Creek Road is closed in Wyoming.

Roads closed to the public – local access only allowed: Meeteetse Trail Road, Grove Creek Road, Robertson Draw Road.

The latest infrared map of the fire from InciWeb shows its size:

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MTN Meteorologist Miller Robson said winds will decline in the Red Lodge area on Wednesday and should help push the fire away from the town of Red Lodge.