Firefighters Working to Protect Homes North of Helena

Residents of 400 homes were evacuated

By Associated Press

HELENA — Firefighters are working to protect homes in the path of a suspected human-caused fire north of Helena.

The fire, which started at mid-day Friday, had burned nearly 7 square miles (17 square kilometers) of timber by Sunday night.

Residents of 400 homes were evacuated. No injuries have been reported and no homes have been lost.

Fire information officer Duane Buchi says more than 300 firefighters are battling the blaze and more were coming in Monday as management was handed over to a more experienced team.

Buchi says crews have had extensive aviation support. A major tanker base at the Helena Regional Airport is a four-minute flight to the fire while helicopters can pull water from Lake Helena just south of the fire.

Managers were concerned about possible thunderstorms Monday afternoon.