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Residents survey damage caused by wildfire north of Great Falls

The fire sparked just after 1 p.m. on Monday
Posted at 7:28 AM, Sep 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-04 09:30:13-04

GREAT FALLS — Residents outside of Great Falls are cleaning up after a Labor Day fire.

“I came out here from town approximately 2 o’clock and I seen some smoke along the horizon over here a couple miles away,” resident Stanley Clinton said.

The fire ignited just after 1 p.m. on Monday. Residents in the area say it spread fast.

“The wind was blowing southwest like it normally does and I didn’t have any concerns,” Clinton said.

It wasn’t long before the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office evacuated Golden Valley Loop and the surrounding areas.

“We loaded up our three dogs and the wife and went in to town and spent some time at a friend’s house until it all was brought under control,” Clinton said. “They didn’t have to tell me to leave. I assumed it was the thing to do. It was frightening.”

Around 7 p.m. the sheriff's office announced the fire was contained and residents were allowed back onto their properties.

“It’s a difficult thing to see,” resident Chad Danielson said.

Danielson said he estimates he lost $15,000 to $20,000 of property.

“There used to be a building standing here that was, I don’t even know how many thousand dollars’ worth of stuff was burnt up that was in there that belonged to me,” Danielson said. “It’s hard. It’s hard to look at it. You work your whole life to buy these toys and they're gone.”

The cause and the size of the fire are unclear. The sheriff's office is investigating.

“The smell is going to hang on for a long time until we get some rain or something,” Clinton said.