Wild Horse Island Blaze Sparked by Illegal Campfire

Fire crews have contained the 5-acre blaze

By Justin Franz
Photo Courtesy of CSKT Division of Fire

Update: July 23, 11:30 a.m.

Officials say an illegal campfire started a 5-acre blaze on Wild Horse Island on Wednesday and now they are seeking information about who set it.

The fire was first reported at 3:46 p.m. and soon after two small airplanes started dropping fire retardant on the blaze and a helicopter began dropping water. Firefighters worked through the night to contain the blaze and on Thursday morning were mopping up.

The fire started on the northwest corner of the island and authorities are asking people to avoid that area, as well as the Rocky Bar access point, where firefighters are still working. The rest of the island remains open.

The campfire was illegal because Stage I fire restrictions are currently in effect for the region. During Stage I restrictions, “Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire” is prohibited unless noted in the exemptions. Exemptions include fires fueled solely by liquid petroleum or LPG, or other activities for which there is a permit or written authorization.

Officials with Montana State Parks are offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who reports suspected violations. If you have information regarding the Wild Horse Island fire, call 1-800-TIP-MONT or 1-800-847-6668.

This story will be updated with more information when it becomes available.