Monday afternoon, the Montana Department of Highways closed Skalkaho Pass due to the 41 Complex forest fire, 10 miles east of Hamilton.
The fire, started by lightning in late August, is now at least 2,000 acres and put up a large column of smoke Monday. Two of the fires within the complex - the Vermiculite and the Up Top - have burned together. They advanced toward the Skalkaho highway, and in at least one point, spotted across the road. That spot fire was quickly put out.
Hamilton Volunteer Firemen are patrolling the roadway, looking for more spot fires.
The fire is generally moving to the southeast, away from Hamilton and private property. No structures are threatened at this time.
A fire information trailer has been set up at Canyon View Church at the intersection of Skalkaho Highway and US 93 south of Hamilton.
Photos and more information is available at Inciweb.