Despite spots of rain, fires expand on Northern Cheyenne reservation in south-central Montana

Posted at 6:38 PM, Aug 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-14 20:38:13-04

NORTHERN CHEYENNE- Fires on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation expanded Tuesday in hot, dry conditions as firefighters fought to gain ground.

A spot of rain helped Monday night and Tuesday evening, but Bureau of Indian Affairs fire officials say full containment will likely take days. 

The Wolf Creek fire blew up from two acres to a 60-acre timber fire Tuesday as temperatures remained around 98 degrees, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Thanks to retardant drops and dozer work, firefighters had the blaze about 40 percent contained by the end of Monday. A squad of smokejumpers was reinforcing firelines Tuesday.

The Buffalo Springs fire of about 90 acres is about 40% contained. It sits three miles southwest of the Lame Deer powwow grounds, in the White Buffalo Creek drainage.

The Golden Eagle (also called Gold Creek) fire in the Kirby Creek drainage of the Wolf Mountains, on the Crow Reservation border, is 20 percent controlled at 35 or 40 acres. A 20-person crew digging handline on that timber fire was ordered to the Northern Rockies region from North Carolina. The local 20-person crew of mostly Northern Cheyenne tribal members returns from 14 days on an Idaho fire Tuesday evening to take mandatory two days off before they return to work Friday.

The 20 to 25 acre Upper Lynch Coulee and Coulee grass fires are more than half contained. The Fourth Coulee fire in the east drainage of Lynch Coulee was about 10 acres and 50 percent controlled.

The forecast for Lame Deer calls for sun and 92 degrees Thursday and Friday and a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms Saturday, according to the BIA.