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Jun 29, 2012 2:06 PM by MTN News

Pony Fire in SW Montana at 6,400 acres, 5% contained

The Pony Fire burning in southwest Montana is slowly moving south towards the town of Mammoth.

A crew is working on setting up a hand line, a clearing made to slow or stop the progress of the fire, on the southwest flank of the ridge near Mammoth.

They are using the ridge line as an anchor point, down to the road.

The crew is using an old mining road and has been clearing trees and widening the road to create a stronger line. Public information officer Jennifer Costich says it will likely take crews an entire shift to finish the line.

Crews are racing to complete the hand line and are unsure how much time they have before the fire makes a run and they are unable to control it.

The Pony Fire is estimated to have burned about 6,400 acres and is just 5% contained.

Here is the status of the Pony Fire as of Friday morning from Inciweb:

High winds, low humidity, and dry conditions caused the Pony Fire to grow in size. Because of better mapping the fire is estimated at 6400 acres. Helicopters were unable to fly yesterday afternoon because of the high winds. The town of Mammoth and South Boulder north to the Univercity of Indiana Geology Field Station are under mandatory evacuation. An road and trail closure order has also been put into effect for the fire area.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. The fire is burning on BLM, privately and Forest Service land is burning in brush, sage and timber.

A Type 2 National Incident Management Team (Kusicko) from Idaho assummed command of the fire at 6:00 a.m. on June 26. The team will also be handling the Antelope Lane Fire which is located 10 miles north of Whitehall.

The winds are not expected to be as much of a factor today. With a passage of a small cold front temperatures should be cooler and humidity levels will be higher.

Two structures have been lost in the fire with more structures threatened. Crews will be putting in pumps and hoses to protect threatened structures.

A public meeting was held last night in Pony with over 100 people in attendance.

We will continue to provide updated information on this and other fires in the area.

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