Fire South of Philipsburg Forces Evacuations

By Beacon Staff

BUTTE — A 200-acre fire driven by “horrific winds” forced the evacuation of houses in a forested area about four miles southeast of Philipsburg.

Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest spokeswoman Leona Roderick said the Granite County sheriff’s office evacuated about 20 homes in the area of the Rumsey Gulch Fire on Monday, but she did not know how many people were involved.

Firefighters from the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, the U.S. Forest Service and volunteer fire departments were fighting the fire, which started on private land at about 6:20 p.m. Monday and burned into the national forest. The cause of the fire is unknown but “horrific winds” swept through the area Monday afternoon, Roderick said.

The winds died down overnight and cooler temperatures helped firefighting efforts.

Also Monday, two houses were destroyed and another was damaged in fires reported in southwestern Montana.

Officials with the Basin Volunteer Fire Department said a grass fire burned a house, a boat and several outbuildings. Fire Chief Richard Rhodes said the person who lived in the house was not home at the time.

At about noon Monday, fire destroyed a house near Whitehall. Butte-Silver Bow County officials said the residents escaped uninjured.

And early Monday, fire damaged a house near Butte. Butte Director of Fire Services said the fire was contained to the second floor and attic of the two-story house. The occupants escaped uninjured.

The cause of the house fires remains under investigation.

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