The Latest: Fire evacuation order lifted in eastern Montana
Jul. 26, 2017
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Latest on Montana's wildfires (all times local):
The Garfield County Sheriff's Office has lifted an evacuation order for 50 homes threatened by four fires that have burned 390 square miles of farmland and public land in eastern Montana.
Authorities said in a statement that the area north of Montana Highway 200 is open only to local traffic. They are also asking landowners to report any losses of livestock, pasture, hay and fences.
The four fires have burned at least 16 homes since lightning ignited them last Wednesday.
More than 600 firefighters are battling the blazes. Crews from across the nation have joined in the effort, which was aided by favorable weather conditions on Tuesday.
About a fifth of the fire area is estimated to be contained.
More favorable weather conditions have allowed firefighters to make some progress on trying to contain wildfires that have destroyed 16 homes in eastern Montana.
Firefighters say they have stopped most of the growth and gained 20 percent containment on the fires that were started last week by lightning.
They expect to make additional progress Tuesday because of lighter winds and slightly cooler temperatures.
The four fires burning in the same area have charred about 390 square miles (1,010 kilometers) that includes private farmland with scattered homes, a mix of rolling open land used for grazing and timber-choked river bottoms.
The fire complex is the largest of the blazes that are scorching Montana in the middle of a heatwave and drought conditions.