Posted: Aug 21, 2012 2:06 PM by Q2 News
Firefighters are making good progress as they continue suppression efforts on the Highway 87 Fire. The blaze started approximately 6 miles SE of Billings yesterday. Today firefighters are concentrating on the northern edge of the blaze, which is closest to structures in Briarwood and other areas. A containment line has been constructed around the northern stretch of the blaze, but firefighters will need to do more work to secure if before the threat to structures is completely abated.
"The risk to structures has diminished significantly with the good work done by all responders yesterday afternoon, overnight and continuing today," said Derek Yeager, Fire Program Manager for the Montana DNRC. Yeager noted this afternoon's hot, dry weather, low humidity, and south winds were a concern, though he felt good about the status of the suppression effort mid-day today. The DNRC has 17 engines, 2 helicopters, 2 air tankers and a dozer as well as overhead personnel available today. Additional air tankers and helicopters may be available if needed. Additional resources from local fire department, the BIA and others were assisting with the fire effort.
The cause of the Highway 87 Fire is human, though investigators have not provided additional information yet. Still, it's a good reminder of the dry conditions that persist throughout the region. The public is reminded to obey fire restrictions and use caution with any activity that has the potential to ignite a fire this includes driving on dead, dry grasses, checking for dragging chains on towing units, and care when using equipment outdoors.
The Highway 87 Fire is still estimated at 1500-2000 acres and is 0% contained. No injuries have been reported. Roughly 80 people are working on the fire.