HELENA — Update 4:30 p.m. Incident Commander Marc Weniger, who is also an assistant chief for Tri-Lakes Volunteer Fire Department, told MTN that fire crews have got a good handle on suppressing the fire and are working on maintaining containment. Crews will continue to work on mopping up the hot spots.
The fire is now known as the "Black Sandy Fire." The estimated size of the fire is 8 acres and approximately 30 homes were notified to leave. Weniger says they do not believe any structures were damaged at this time. The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says Overland Road will remain closed for the time due to a large amount of fire apparatus continuing to work in the area. Countryside Road from Hauser Dam Road to Timber Trail is open. Timber Trail from Countryside to Overland Road is open.
Fire personnel from Tri-Lakes, East Valley, Eastgate, York, Wolf Creek Fire, West Valley, U.S. Forest Service and the Montana Department of Natural Resources all responded to the Black Sandy Fire.
Update 2:30 p.m. The Lewis and Clark Sheriff's Office says immediate evacuations took place near the fire and the public is being asked to stay away while emergency responders are on the scene.
"Evacuations are occurring in the north hills of Helena. Currently, all residents east of 3485 Overland Road have been told to evacuate. All of Audubon. Now Timber Trail. Areas north of Overland and Hauser Road and Country Side Road. These roads are now closed to fire apparatus only," said Sheriff Leo Dutton.
Dutton said the fire is being called the "Overland Fire" and the cause of the fire is not yet known. Tri-Lakes Fire had asked for mutual aid from surrounding volunteer fire departments.
Roads blocked at this time are the intersections of Overland Road and Hauser Dam Road and Overland Road and Timber Trail Drive.
Dutton noted this is a rapidly developing situation and information is subject to change as he learns more from crews in the area.
Original story A wildland fire has been reported north of Helena near the White Sandy Campground.
Around 1:30 p.m. a smoke column could be seen from the Helena valley.
Tri-Lakes say the fire is located near Overland Road. Officials ask people to “stay clear” of Hauser Dam Road.
At this time, it is unclear how the fire started or its size.
Lewis and Clark 911 Dispatch says people should not call 911 to report the smoke or to ask for information regarding the fire.
Editor's note: This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.