Residents on Alert After 80-Acre Wildfire Burns Near Lakeside

Fire crews 'aggressively' attack Bierney Creek fire within half a mile of 75-100 homes

By Justin Franz & Dillon Tabish
Crews work to contain a wildfire west of Lakeside in 2016. Beacon file photo

The Latest

— Fire burns 80 acres in the Bierney Creek area above Lakeside

— Structures are threatened but no evacuations have been ordered yet

— Three helicopters and at least one plane were dropping water and retardant while engines and bulldozers respond

Updated: Aug. 22, 9:30 p.m.

Fire crew are aggressively attacking a wildfire burning within a half-mile of roughly 75-100 homes above Lakeside.

The Bierney Creek fire sparked Monday afternoon on the north end of Lakeside and had consumed 80 acres as of 9:30 p.m., according to Ali Evans, spokesperson with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

Evans said an estimated 75 to 100 homes were within a half-mile of the fire.

“Firefighters are aggressively attacking this fire,” Evans said.

Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry said no evacuations have been ordered yet; however some residents were leaving the area on their own.

Active fire behavior was reported earlier in the evening due to high winds but the blaze had calmed by evening as the temperatures dropped.

A red flag warning was issued for parts of western and central Montana on Monday. The warning indicated critical fire weather due to winds, low humidity and warm temperatures.

Firefighters from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, the U.S. Forest Service, the Somers-Lakeside Fire Department and other agencies were responding to the blaze. At least three helicopters were dropping water on the fire and planes were dropping fire retardant to suppress the blaze in the early evening, helping box in the fire, according to Evans. Bulldozers and engines were also attacking the fire.

A Type III incident management team, which is an interagency collective of resources that handles complex hazardous incidents, will assume command of the fire on Tuesday morning.

The cause of the blaze is unknown at this time and under investigation.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.