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Blacktail Fire

Unit Information

Helena - Lewis and Clark National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
2880 Skyway Drive Helena Montana 59602
Helena, MT 59602

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Blacktail Fire Update

Blacktail Fire Wildfire
News – 9/14/2017

Fire Information Line: (406) 333-1544

Follow Fire Information: Inciweb:


Important – Drones are prohibited in the fires vicinity & have potential to shut down all operations.

Start date: September 10, 2017

Location: Southeast of Two Dot, Montana

Cause: Lightning

Size: 4792

Total Personnel: 100 personnel

Resources Assigned: Cain’s Nevada Interagency Type III Incident Management Team assumed command of the Blacktail fire on September 12, 2017. This fire includes both Federal and Private Lands in Meagher, Wheatland and Sweet Grass Counties. There are several strike teams of engines assigned, one Type 2 20 - person hand crew as well as numerous pieces of heavy equipment. Firefighters efforts are supported by 2 Type 3 (Light) helicopters and 1 Type 2 (Medium) helicopter and one air attack plane.

Fire History: The fire was reported at approximately 1500 hours on Sunday September 10, 2017. Nine smokejumpers initial attacked the fire and were assisted by local resources including volunteer fire departments from Two Dot, Melville, Wheatland and Sweet Grass counties. Firefighting efforts were assisted with two helicopter and single engine air tankers dropping retardant as needed. Suppression efforts have been hampered by high winds coupled with steep rocky terrain. Active fire behavior has been reported on the fire into the early morning hours.

Yesterday’s Operations: Crews scouted for opportunities to put fireline in along the north and south sides of the fire perimeter. Private fire crews were able to put in a dozer line along the Forest Service/Private boundary north of the fire to hamper fire growth toward private property. Additional crews were able to continue improving existing contingency lines along the east and south fire perimeters utilizing both heavy equipment as well as firing operations.

Planned Operations: Firefighters are working on improving identified contingency lines and scouting for opportunities to build control lines on the southern flank. In addition firefighters will be scouting for opportunities to use strategic firing operations to prevent further fire spread onto private lands along the east and southern fire perimeters. Crews will be identifying opportunities for control line construction as well as preparing to use strategic firing operations in order to keep the fire from progressing onto private lands near Buzzard Creek.

Closures: Forest Road 654 as well as Forest Trails 630A and 640 are closed at this time. For more details on the closure please check inciweb:

Weather: Cooler temperatures and increased relative humidities are expected over the fire area for the next couple of days. The cold front is also expected to bring east winds, isolated and scattered showers and increased relative humidities. This weather will give firefighters the opportunity to focus on building firelines in anticipation for drier conditions once the cold front passes.