Fire Crews Save Subdivision Near Seeley Lake

By Beacon Staff

HELENA (AP) – Fire crews battled to save about 10 homes in a subdivision near Seeley Lake Sunday, while evacuation orders were issued on several fires across the state.

The 20,800-acre Jocko Lakes fire spotted across containment lines Sunday and helicopters making water drops were ineffective in controlling the spot fires as they spread toward the Eagle Point subdivision.

Firefighters “foamed structures and burned out vegetation around them,” said fire information officer Tom Kempton. “They backed away to staging areas during the height of the fire.”

Heavy smoke from Idaho fires settled into the area Sunday afternoon, which “really subdued the fire,” Kempton said.

Firefighters then went back in and cleaned up hot spots around the subdivision and crews worked overnight to rebuild the containment lines, he said. Mop-up in the area was expected to continue Monday.

The fire’s spread on Sunday also led to the re-evacuation of about 300 residences in the area of the Jocko Lakes fire.

“Trying to control the areas (of the fire) that are closest to the populated areas has been a challenge,” Kempton said.

South of Livingston, the Wicked Creek fire was estimated at 8,500 acres, said fire information officer Marna Daley.

Crews were waiting until the smoke cleared to better map the perimeter of the lightning-caused fire.

Evacuations remain in place for residences on Mill Creek Road, from the end of the pavement to the head of the drainage, Daley said. She did not know how many people were displaced.

About eight miles to the east, the Hicks Park fire has burned 1,200 to 1,500 acres south of Big Timber, leading to the evacuation of about 30 homes, four church camps and a guest ranch south of the Fourmile cabin to the head of the Main Boulder River drainage.

Many of those residents were forced to evacuate last year in the midst of the Derby and Jungle fires.

The Main Boulder Road was closed from Natural Bridge south. The Gallatin and Custer national forests are also closing “a fairly large area,” Daley said.

Both the Wicked Creek and Hicks Park fires are burning actively in heavy timber, Daley said.

“With the predicted weather conditions, we’re likely to see continued growth,” she said.

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