Montana

Jun 26, 2012 11:47 AM by MTN News

UPDATE: Fireworks possibly to blame for Bear Trap Fire

BOZEMAN - The 2,250-acre Bear Trap Fire is believed to have been caused by fireworks.

Madison County officials say there is a person of interest. Reports indicate the fire was started by people using fireworks across from Warm Springs boat entry.

On Monday, two helicopters and 25 engines responded to the fire along Norris Road near the Bear Trap Canyon. Between 75 to 80 responders were on the fire, which is burning in very rough terrain.

The fire is burned from Bear Trap Canyon towards Cherry Creek.

Officials said Monday that winds were so strong in the area and the fire is moving so fast that it is dangerous for crews to get out in front of it, so they are fighting it from the sides and from above. High winds are expected again today.

"You know, a fire like this, in this kind of terrain, we're not going to get a handle on it. When the weather starts to cooperate, we'll do better then, but right now it's too dangerous to get in front of it, so we're coming in from behind or from the side and we're working it from the air. We're not going to risk anybody for the vegetation up there," Steve Digiovanna of Madison County Emergency Services said Monday.

The fire started at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, June 25 and burned straight up some vertical slopes and was then carried across the ridgelines by winds gusting to 40 MPH, according to Madison County.

The fire burned close to several structures and threatened one home near Trappers Creek Campground, across from Red Mountain Campground.

Units from Gallatin County, Madison County and Three Forks responded to the incident. There were approximately 25 engines and fire units on the scene, Gallatin and Madison County Sheriff's Office and two helicopters from DNRC.

At that time, the fire subsided slightly but is still burning actively in some areas. The fire is expected to rebuild again today with the forecast of even stronger winds.

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