Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation
1539 Eleventh Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
Personnel: 308 Structures Lost: 12 (secondary structures)
Weather and Fire Conditions: Meteorologists have issued a Red Flag Warning through Tuesday afternoon associated with temperatures near 100, relative humidity 9-12%, and the potential for gusty winds. These conditions are critical fire thresholds and could result in increased potential for spot fires especially where terrain aligns with predicted wind directions. There is also the chance for thunderstorms to produce gusty and erratic outflow winds up to 40-50 mph across the fire area Monday evening.
Richard Spring Fire (170,848 acres, 65% contained): The Richard Spring Fire’s northern perimeter is in patrol status and fire managers are interacting with landowners on potential repair work of dozer lines. However, hot spots are still present along the fire’s eastern and southwestern perimeter. Smoke within the fire’s interior will be more visible as the warming/drying trend continues through Tuesday. Gusty winds forecast today could lead to flare-ups and even spot fires where heavy fuels and hot spots occur near fire lines. Crews will continue to patrol containment lines and monitor flare ups in the fire’s interior which could lead to spot fires. They will also continue to secure and mop up along fire lines. Firefighters have made excellent progress securing line around the southwestern corner of the fire near Lame Deer and the Highway 212 corridor, helping contain the fire north of the Lame Deer Divide Road. However, fire managers are still concerned about alignment of forecast northwesterly winds with terrain in that area which could threaten recently constructed fire line and structures. Aerial resources (including both helicopter water drops and airplane retardant drops) continue to be available to support firefighting efforts on the ground, although the smoke has created visibility issues for flying.
Lame Deer Fire (5,427 acres, 60% contained): Crews continue to strengthen and secure fire lines around the Lame Deer Fire, leading to increased containment. Although some smoke is still visible within heavy fuels south of Lynch Coulee Road, the previously conducted burnout operation in that area has effectively stopped the fire spread. Firefighters will continue to mop up around the fire’s perimeter, strengthen existing fire lines, and monitor for potential spot fires associated with winds.
Evacuations and Fire Closures: Rosebud County Fire Warden and Rosebud County Sheriff have downgraded the evacuation status for the community of Ashland, including the Ashland Divide, Rabbit Town, North Tongue River Road, and the St. Labre Indian Academy Campus, from Level 3 “Go Now” stage to a Level 1 “Be Ready” stage.
The Northern Cheyenne Disaster & Emergency Services have downgraded the evacuation status for the community of Lame Deer, Muddy Cluster, and Rosebud Cut Across from Level 3 “Go Now” to Level 2 “Set” stage for all those who do not have medical conditions. Pre-evacuation notices remain in effect for Rosebud Creek from Greenleaf Creek to Cherry Creek and the Lame Deer Divide Road located on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation south of Lame Deer.
Highway 212 is currently closed between Broadus and Crow Agency to all non-residents. Residents should continue to check Rosebud County Sheriff’s and DES Facebook pages, Northern Cheyenne Disaster & Emergency Services Facebook page, as well as the Richard Spring InciWeb page, as evacuation and road closure status are being evaluated frequently and could change rapidly.
Special Messages: An evacuation center is set up at the Northern Cheyenne Tribal School in Busby. See the Rosebud County Disaster and Emergency Facebook page for additional evacuation center information.
Please avoid unnecessary travel in the fire areas for the safety of fire crews and be aware of loose livestock.
Primary and Cooperating Agencies: MT- DNRC, Northern Cheyenne Tribe, BIA Northern Cheyenne Agency, Rosebud County Sheriff’s Office, Rosebud County Disaster & Emergency Services, Ashland Fire Department, BLM, Custer-Gallatin National Forest. Additionally, numerous volunteers, private landowners, volunteer fire departments and adjacent county agencies coordinated to provide initial attack of the fire, offer emergency assistance, and support firefighters.