HELENA — Crews are gaining the upper hand on a fire burning south of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in north-central Montana, while weekend lighting storms sparked smaller fires in western Montana.
The July fire has burned more than 16 square miles (43 square kilometers) in the Little Rocky Mountains and has threatened the surrounding towns of Zortman, Landusky, Hays and Lodgepole.
The fire was 50 percent contained Monday morning. Crews were working to protect structures in the four towns while reinforcing fire lines and trying to prevent it from spreading to the reservation.
In northwestern Montana, thunderstorms started several fires between Kalispell and Libby on Friday. The largest is the 1.5-square mile (4 square kilometer) Lazier Creek fire near Middle Thompson Lake.
Helena-area firefighters moved quickly to extinguish five lightning-sparked fires north of the city after a thunderstorm Sunday evening.
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