Fire Chars Almost 10 Acres off Farm to Market Road

By Beacon Staff

Fire crews suppressed a fast-moving brush fire Tuesday that charred almost 10 acres and threatened two residences off Farm to Market Road west of Kalispell.

State, volunteer and city firefighters responded just after 2 p.m. as a plume of black smoke became visible across the valley.

West Valley Fire Chief Russ Sappington, the incident commander, estimated the fire was contained at seven to 10 acres in size. It originated near a property off Farm to Market Road and West Valley Drive and burned along a dry wheat field into a brushy creek bottom. Sappington said the fire’s cause remains under investigation, though he added it was “definitely unintentional.”

A helicopter with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation responded to the blaze along with city fire engines and area volunteer crews. Two nearby homes were considered threatened but firefighting efforts deflected any potential damage.

Crews successfully stamped out the majority of the fire by 4 p.m. while the helicopter continued to focus its water drops into the smoky creek bottom.

“The creek bottom will be our problem area,” Sappington said. “Pretty much they’ve got the field all out but it will be getting in here and digging around and putting out all the spots.”

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