Glacier County has been battered by hurricane-force winds for at least the past 24 hours, with gusts nearing 100 mph and early Wednesday morning, those winds helped fan a large wildfire just east of Browning.
By noon, the fire was 90% contained, after burning an estimated 450 acres stretching more than seven miles. There were no serious injuries reported. No homes were destroyed, but some barns and outbuildings were torched, and several animals perished.
Blackfeet Reservation public information officer James McNeely credits the fast response of firefighters for preventing even more damage.
Browning Public Schools superintendent Corrina Guardipee-Hall says that she woke up to the howling winds and knew there would be trouble. All of the Browning schools were closed today due to the winds, the fire, and several power outages throughout the county.
“I woke up to the winds being nearly 100 miles per hour," she said, “Even I had trouble getting into the office today and I knew if I have problems other people were as well and I didn’t want to risk the safety of anyone.”
“We took all of this into consideration and decided it was better to cancel school,” said Hall.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.