Crews battled a wildfire near Townsend. Officials said it charred about 450 acres as of Sunday evening. The blaze was reported at about 3:15. Broadwater County crews have enlisted the assistance of the state Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Forest Service, according to Sheriff Brenda Ludwig. The fire is off of Indian Creek Road and was actively burning in Bureau of Land Management and Montana National Guard lands. It has entered the Limestone Hills Range. No structures were threatened as of Sunday evening. Indian Creek Road and Old Woman’s Grave Road were closed to help fire crews. Even though the roadways have been reopened, Ludwig urged nonresidents to stay out of the area. Broadwater County Fire Chief Ed Shindoll said the cause of the blaze is under investigation. His department has about 25 firefighters, Forest Service has a crew of 17 on the blaze and the DNRC has nine personnel. A DNRC helicopter was being used Sunday afternoon but had to leave due to high winds, Shindoll said. A storm was making its way through the area at about 6 p.m. “It just started sprinkling here,” Ludwig said. Broadwater County, as well as Lewis and Clark and Jefferson counties, were under a severe thunderstorm watch until late Sunday night. “We have to watch and see what the storm brings,” Shindoll said. “Winds have been pretty steady at probably 30 miles per an hour plus and they haven’t died down yet.” Ludwig said the fire area got a small amount of moisture.”Every little bit helps,” she added. Crews will be on the fire throughout the night.
Firefighters continue to battle the 8,000-acre Grapevine Fire in the Safford Ranger District of the Coronado National Forest. The blaze is burning at low elevation in grass and bush, and crews continued to hold the fire south of Highway 266 from the west side Forest Boundary east to Gillespie Wash, fire officials told KPHO-TV on Sunday. The fire has led to the closure of Coronado National Forest lands south of State Route 266, known as Greasewood and Kane Spring Mountains. No structures have been destroyed. Firefighters said the fire, which was caused by lightning, is 10 percent contained.