HOT SPRINGS – The Garden Creek Fire near Hot Springs more than tripled in size Wednesday, jumping to an estimated 1,842 acres burned.
It is now the largest fire burning in the state of Montana.
Fire managers say that the blaze grew substantially over the last 24 hours with most of the fire activity occurring to the south and east, growing over 1,300 acres from Tuesday into Wednesday. The fire, which is burning in several small drainages on Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribal land was active overnight with the fire spotting up to a ¼ mile.
One structure was successfully protected on the east side of the fire last night, and no others are threatened at this time. The Confederated Salish& Kootenai Division of Fire reports the structure on the HS-5000 Road was evacuated and firefighters burned out around the house.
The blaze is a ½ mile from the structure which has been secured.
There are 180 fire personnel assigned to the lightning-caused Garden Creek fire that started on July 29. Fire managers say the blaze is only about 5 percent contained.
Personnel from the CSKT Division of Fire and a Type 3 Incident Management Team continue work on the fire burning near Coney Peak at elevations above 5,000 feet in steep and rocky terrain.
Most of Sanders County remains under Stage I Fire Restrictions and fire officials say that Stage II Fire Restrictions may be implemented later this week.
The following roads have been closed in the vicinity of the Garden Creek fire:
- HS-4000 road
- HS-5000 road
- HS-1000 road at the HS-5030 junction to the north of the fire
- HS-1000 road at the McGinnis road junction to the south of the fire.