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Homeowners prepare for the worst as Observation Point fire rages - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Homeowners prepare for the worst as Observation Point fire rages

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Around 200 residences may need to be evacuated. (MTN News photo) Around 200 residences may need to be evacuated. (MTN News photo)
HAMILTON -

It's been nearly a week since the Observation Point fire began burning in the Bitterroots southwest of Hamilton.

More than 100 firefighters are battling the blaze, fighting against steep terrain, extreme temperature and high winds.

Their primary goal: prevent the fire from spreading, which could force the evacuation of nearly 200 properties.

The issuance of a Stage 1 alert has prompted some homeowners to prepare for the worst. 

"It's daunting because you don't know what to take, you don't know what to leave," said Roland Dextradeur. "Family portraits or course, a lot of individual keepsakes from the kids that they've done and made...those are the things you want to keep."

Dextradeur is no stranger to wildfire. He and his family have lived in the area for years and have actually been evacuated before.

He's been spending time doing what he can to secure his property, cleaning out dangerous debris.

"I've limbed up my trees," he explained. "Eliminated about ten trees adjacent to the property and really cleaned out a lot of the brush and also the pine needles and pine cones. That can certainly go ahead and make a difference."

Ravalli County Undersheriff Scott Hotlon said there's still no cause for panic. No one is being evacuated and plans, but plans are in place with the Red Cross should the fire spread too far.

But Dextradeur is one step ahead. Should the flames encroach on their land, he and his family have a safe place to stay.

"Well thank God my granddaughter has a house which is north of the town, and they've got enough room for us to accommodate," he said. "It'll be a little tight, but that's okay."

Hotlon says people can download the free cell phone app for the latest information on the fire, by going to the App store and searching for Ravalli County Sheriff Office.

Volunteers are also manning the county's emergency operations center phone line at (406) 375-6650 at answer questions.

RELATED:

Ravalli County Commission declares state of emergency 

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