Posted: Jun 28, 2012 3:13 PM by Angela Douglas - Q2 News
Updated: Jun 28, 2012 3:23 PM
ROUNDUP - Moderate temperatures and reduced winds are aiding firefighters as they battle the Dahl Fire burning southwest of Roundup.
The acreage scorched in the blaze, which sparked Tuesday afternoon, remains at approximately 19,000 acres. The fire is zero percent contained. Forcing 95-150 evacuations to be ordered.
A community meeting was held at noon Thursday at St. Benedict church in Roundup. Musselshell County DES, MT Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and the Federal Incident Management Team spoke at the meeting; holding a question and answer session with evacuees.
According to DES Director Jeff Gates, a team of fire managers are currently assessing damage on the ground and hope to have a more accurate estimate of structures lost by Thursday evening.
Once the fire managers have an assessment of the damage, they will hold private meetings with property owners on each road.
Evacuation orders remain in place as a safety precaution.
Currently five 20-person teams are working on the fire. The crews that arrived with the IMT were able to relieve the local volunteer firefighters who had been working the fire for approximately 48 hours straight.
A couple area residents expressed concern during the meeting about management shifting from local to federal control. One woman said she and her husband were helping a fire crew protect some property near their home with some of their personal heavy machinery on Wednesday, but once the incident management team took over she said they were told they and their equipment were not needed. A member of the IMT, along with Gates, assured her they would look into that incident.
Gates stressed his point by adding that as a rural community they depend on community help to get through disasters; before, during, and after federal agencies leave.
Other residents asked the fire team to address rumors and mis-information that was floating around the community. In response, the IMT reminded evacuees and area residents that the latest factual information would be provided at inciweb.org.
Also, a Twitter account has been set up and the IMT will provide updates through the names @dahlfire and @mtdnrcfire. Updates will also be provided through the 'Roundup DES' Facebook page.
At this point it is unknown how many animals have perished, but Musselshell County Sheriff Woody Weitzel stated that many animals have perished or were injured in the fire. According to the Sheriff they are in need of shelter for the animals that did survive. Feed, such as hay, is also in need.
No human life has been lost.
Thursday afternoon, Musselshell County issued a stage two fire restriction. There is also a complete ban on fireworks county and city-wide.
Meanwhile, the Hawk Creek Fire burning south of Musselshell has burned 1,800 acres and is 95% contained.