Divide Complex, Harris Mountain fires grow
The Harris Mountain Fire, near the Town of Cascade was started by lighting according to the Montana Department of Natural Resources on July 23 and since then has grown to 3,623 acres with 152 personnel assigned.
10 p.m. update: The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office has issued a mandatory evacuation for all residents on Adel Road due to the lack of escape routes.
“Pack your essential items only and house pets and leave your residence immediately. First Responders will NOT come rescue you if you decide to stay. This is for all residents south of Mile Marker 7 on Adel Road, leave immediately,” according to Cascade County Disaster and Emergency Services.
Sheriff Jesse Slaughter told The Electric on July 25 that a pre-evacuation notice had been issued for the Sheep Creek Lane aera, everything south of Cascade. Deputies were being called in to make notifications, he said.
Residents in the area will be told to prepare for a possible full evacuation in the near future and asked to “pack only essential items and house pets; be prepared for when an evacuation is ordered,” according to CCSO.
“DNRC is coordinating with the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office and multiple volunteer fire departments from Cascade County. DNRC Central Land Office has prioritized response efforts and suppression resources to the fire, including an incident commander, air resources, and multiple fire engines,” according to InciWeb.
A Type 2 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team will in-brief July 25 and assume command of the fire early next week, according to InciWeb.
On July 23, CCSO issued an evacuation order for one home and warnings for additional homes and ranches in the area.
“Residents are asked to avoid the area as much as possible to allow fire response efforts to travel unheeded into the area. If driving through the area, please reduce speeds and be mindful of any posted signs restricting access or calling for alternate routes,” according to InciWeb.
The Divide Complex, which includes the Balsinger and Ellis fires, has grown to 6,023 acres with 207 personnel assigned.
On July 25, CCSO is now also doing pre-evacuations for the northern part of Belt Creek Drainage and the Town of Monarch.
The fire grew on July 23, causing the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office to issue an evacuation order for the Belt Park area, between Neihart and Monarch.
A community meeting is planned for 7 p.m. July 26 at the Neihart Community Park. Officials will give a presentation and take questions. The meeting will be recorded and posted to the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest page.
According to the Forest Service, the fire nearly doubled in six hours on Friday when it “made a long, sustained run north and east for about two miles. Intense fire behavior with crowning and long-range spotting occurred. Firefighters worked to tie in a dozer line in the Wilson Park area to Belt Park for a solid containment line. Although the fire continues to push east, retardant drops in the grassy areas have slowed its movement.”