By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
More than 70 firefighters are working to contain a 600-acre wildfire in southern Blaine County, the federal Bureau of Land Management said this morning.
The fire apparently began Tuesday night during a lightning storm, said Craig Flentie, spokesman with the bureau's Lewistown office. Dubbed the Coal fire, the blaze is moving to the southeast and is in a remote area of breaks-type terrain, Flentie said.
"It's primarily on BLM land. There is very little private land involved and the fire is moving in a southeasterly direction, pushing it even further into BLM land," he said.
Fire crews from the BLM, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Forest Service are working the fire, he said. A number of state and private firefighters are also involved, Flentie said.
"As of today, we have two hand crews, 11 engines, about 71 people involved altogether," he said.
The BLM is also using three single-engine air tankers to help combat the blaze, Flentie said.
The aircraft are being loaded with fire retardant in Lewistown and making drops over the fire, then returning to refuel and reload, he added.
There are no estimates on when the fire might be contained.
"Accessibility is an issue. It's in rough terrain, typical breaks-type terrain," Flentie said.
Initial estimates put the size of the fire at about 600 acres, he added.
Fire crews responded to the fire Wednesday after a BLM employee working in the area reported smoke at 10:30 a.m., Flentie said.