Q2 Morning Email Newsletter

Jul 26, 2012 6:12 PM by Q2 News

Mandatory evacuations ordered for Skibstad Fire

UPDATE: The Stillwater County Commissioners have signed a resolution calling for the mandatory evacuations of homes threatened by the Skibstad Fire. Included in the mandatory evacuation order is the Hermit Creek Subdivision and a stretch of Shane Creek Road from house numbers #565 through #981. Voluntary and/or pre-evacuation notices have been issued for some additional areas. A shelter for evacuees is established at the Columbus High School Gymnasium.

The Skibstad Fire is 3,213 acres, and is 35% contained.

A Northern Rockies Incident Management Team will be briefed on the fire this evening.

A team has been ordered to investigate the cause of the Skibstad Fire. No injuries have been reported.

COLUMBUS - Stillwater County officials have issued a call for voluntary evacuation for residents along a 5-mile stretch of Shane Creek Road. Residents at

addresses 565-981 Shane Creek Road are asked to voluntarily evacuate. A shelter has been established at the Columbus High School Gymnasium.

More than 100 structures are now at risk as the Skibstad Fire burns south of Columbus.

The fire sparked Wednesday afternoon and has already consumed an estimated 3,000 acres.

A pre-evacuation notice has been given for residents along Shane Ridge Road, Shane Creek, and the east Shane Creek Road subdivisions.

There are reports of structure losses, though little information is available as to the number and types.

It is unknown if homes have been destroyed.

The Skibstad fire is burning in timber and grass and is 0-percent contained.

An incident management team is en route to the fire and orders for resources - including helicopters, engines and crews, have been placed.

The fire is burning actively and firefighters plan to use extensive aerial resources, including helicopters and air tankers, in an attempt to construct fire lines and corral the blaze.

"It's a fuel driven fire," said Paula Short, DNRC Fire Information Officer. "The vegetation is so dry, it's carrying fire overnight, even in cooler temperatures and high humidities."

Residents are advised to be prepared to leave if conditions worsen.

The weather will challenge firefighters, with continued hot, dry conditions and broken terrain.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

COLUMBUS - The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation notified us this morning that the Skibstad Fire has now reached 3,000 completely uncontained acres.

Paula Short, a spokesperson for the DNRC, said an incident management team has been ordered. They should arrive by mid-morning and be briefed by mid-afternoon, she said.

Still no evacuations have been ordered, but a pre-evacuation order has been put in effect for residents in Shane Creek and East Shane Creek.

The fire started about eight miles south-east of Columbus in Stillwater County.

Approximate Location

View Larger Map

DNRC changes spelling on Skibstad fire

BILLINGS- The Montana Department of Natural Resources has corrected it's official spelling on the fire burning south of Columbus.
Initial official reports identified the blaze as the Skibstead Fire.
However, the name for the fire comes from the Skibstad Road, which is where that fire initially began.
On Thursday morning, the DNRC officially changed the name of the fire to the correct spelling of that road.
Despite the incorrect spelling, a few media outlets (including KTVQ) kept to the official spelling provided by the DNRC in order to provide viewers and readers with the most accurate information possible by remaining in uniform with that information.
In light of the correction, we will begin using the corrected spelling as well.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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