Lightning Sparks New Fires, Prompts Evacuations

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – Officials say lightning sparked new fires in southern Montana, including one that forced people from about 30 homes near Livingston.

Park County Commissioner Randy Taylor says the 1 ½-square-mile fire northeast of Livingston began Tuesday night when lightning struck a tree.

The fire was mostly contained Wednesday after burning more than 1,500 acres and most residents were allowed to return home.

Two new fires that started in the Bitterroot National Forest Tuesday are less than an acre, and fire crews were able to extinguish a third.

In southeastern Montana, officials reported that the 389-square-mile Ash Creek has been completely contained, but red-flag weather conditions moved into the area Wednesday around that fire and four others in the region.

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