Hot Springs fire triples in size overnight
The Garden Creek Fire burning on tribal land near Hot Springs took a drastic turn Tuesday night, growing from 500 acres to nearly 1,800 acres, making it the largest fire in the state so far this season.
Fueled by high western winds and temperatures lingering around 80 through Tuesday night, the rapid spread prompted the evacuation of one outlying home and protective efforts including fire retardant drops and burnout operations to help keep the fire from reaching the structure, according to public information officer C.T. Camel.
The fire was around half a mile from the structure Wednesday afternoon.
No other structures were under threat and no further evacuations planned as of Wednesday afternoon, but road closures in the area remained in effect with more under consideration depending on the level of continued fire activity.
Wihtout the relief of normal temperature drops overnight, spot fires and slop over continued to move the fire farther east and south.
The blaze was well established in several small drainages on Flathead Reservation land around Garden Creek.
Approximately 180 fire personnel remained on the scene Wednesday.
Camel gave a rough estimate of 5 percent containment, but said there was no real way of knowing how much of the blaze had been contained.
Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or email@example.com.