Montana Fire Update – Thursday July 5
The Ash Creek Complex remains the state's biggest wildlife at over 244,000 acres. It grew with more wind and hot, dry conditions this week. And Highway 212 between Ashland and Broadus remains closed, though crews made good progress on lines south of the highway.
The firefighters have now lumped the Ash Creek Complex into a group of fires in the general vicinity of Colstrip, Montana.
The Southeastern Montana Complex will manage the Ash Creek Fire, along with the Taylor, the Coal Seam, the Horse Creek and the Powerline fires.
That's a total of 300,432 acres, with over 1,328 people on the firelines. The reason for the consolidation is to better dispatch resources to the various hotspots as they crop up in each fire.
The Pony Fire, ten miles west of Pony MT in the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest is now at 4,800 acres in the Tobacco Root Mountains. Evacuations are still in effect for area around Mammoth and South Boulder River area. The western edge of the fire has been receiving the most attention, with little activity on the east, south and north perimeters. Some burnouts are planned.
The Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest now has Stage I fire restrictions due to the high fire danger.
The commissioners in Yellowstone and Stillwater Counties have declared drought disasters in their counties. The dry conditions are devastating crops.