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Eastern Montana fire update Friday, Sept. 4

Posted at 6:18 PM, Sep 04, 2020

Four major wildfire are burning in eastern Montana: BobCat fire in Musselshell County, Huff fire in Garfield County, Sarpy fire in Big Horn County and Snider and Rice fire in Rosebud County.

Here's the latest from each fromInciWeb:

BobCat fire

The BobCat Fire was detected on 9/2/2020 on private lands approximately 8 miles southeast of Roundup, MT, east of Montana Highway 87. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. At 0600, September 4, 2020, Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 4 took command of incident.

The BobCat fire is burning in tall grass, intermixed with ponderosa pine stands and sagebrush. Primarily wind-driven, the fire continues a rapid southeasterly rate of spread. Firefighters are working to contain the fire through direct attack, heavy equipment containment lines, and air operations.

Private residences and structures have been threatened with an unknown number incurring damage from the fire. Communities threatened by active fire spread include Johnnys Coal Subdivision, Bruner Mountain Subdivision, Old Divide Subdivision, and remote structures dispersed along Fattig Creek road and the Signa Peak Coal Mine. Evacuations have been ordered for the Hidden Springs subdivision, residences on Fattig Creek road, Turkey Trot drive, Bruner Mountain road, Pine Cone lane, Lookout lane, Taylor Mesa lane, Spring Hollow lane, and Otter Trail.Cooperating agencies include DNRC, BLM, Bull Mountain Fire Dept, Musselshell County Fire Dept, Musselshell County DES, Musselshell County Sheriff's Dept, and Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 4.

Rice and Snider fire

Friday: Today fire resources will be working hard to build and secure fireline around both fire’s perimeter. A fireline is where firefighters or heavy equipment clear to bare soil with no burnable vegetation. This is critical work as weather conditions forecasted for tomorrow, Saturday, August 5th, are not favorable and could replicate the weather the day these fires started (hot and windy).

Thursday: Firefighters worked to further secure the eastern and southern edges of the Rice Fire. Burn operations assisted this effort. A burn operation is conducted between the fireline, typically put in by a dozer and hand crews, and the fire. The unburned vegetation in this area is burned to increase the black area, which helps further secure the fire’s perimeter and makes it less likely the fire will move outside of that area.

Management of the fire was transferred to the Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) County Assist Team (CAT). Incident Commander, David Hamilton and team will work closely with private landowners, local fire departments, county, state and federal partners to ensure life safety and values at risk (rangeland/forage; structures; natural resources and ag lands) are protected while putting out the fires as quickly as possible.

Wednesday, Sept. 2: The Rice and Snider Fires started mid-day and grew quickly dues to extreme fire behavior (hot temperatures, ripe vegetation, erratic wind). The Rice Fire is located 6 miles north of Ashland on the east side of the Tongue River and the Snider Fire is located 20 miles north of Ashland along the Tongue River and Tongue River Road on both the east and west sides.

Huff fire

Current as of

9/4/2020, 9:22:14 AM
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginWednesday September 02nd, 2020 approx. 01:00 PM
LocationJordan, MT
Coordinates47.381 latitude, -106.916 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel62
Size46,892 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained15%

Sarpy fire

Current as of

9/3/2020, 8:02:36 PM
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginWednesday September 02nd, 2020 approx. 02:00 PM
Locationsouth of Sarpy Road, north of US Highway 212, on both the Crow and Northern Cheyenne Reservations
Incident CommanderDrew Brown ICT3 [CRA], Colt Herrera Sr ICT3(t); Adam Wolf ICT3 [NCA], Mario Pretty Boy ICT3(t)
Coordinates45.716 latitude, -107.056 longitude

Current Situation

Size48,000 Acres
Estimated Containment DateThursday September 10th, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involvedshort grass [FM 1] and ponderosa [FM 8]


Planned Actionsplanning evening burnouts to reinforce existing lines

Current Weather

Weather ConcernsSaturday, September 5: a Red Flag warning likely for triple digit temperature, single digit humidity, and gusty winds from a dry cold front passage