By Alan Sorensen
A grass fire that burned several acres on both sides of the Milk River Sunday and Monday was apparently touched off by an abandoned campfire at the first boat landing in the rookery.
The fire on the north side of the river about five miles west of Havre was first reported shortly after 3 p.m. Sunday. Members of the St. Joe Volunteer Fire Department responded and had the fire under control early.
Sparks from the fire subsequently jumped the river and ignited grasses and some trees in the forest on the south side of the river. Havre firefighters responded to the second fire, but were unable to get to it by land. They ended up going to the north side of the river and boating across to the south-side fire.
The Havre crews used two pumps delivered by city back shop personnel to fight the fire with river water.
The south-side fire reignited Monday and firefighters spent the day dousing hot spots on foot.
Late Monday afternoon, Hill County personnel used a Cat to cut a road down to the southern scene of the fire from the ostrich farm north of U.S. Highway 2 west of Havre. Fire trucks were able then to reach the southern burn area and finishing mopping up the fire.
Havre Fire Chief Mike Badgley said he is concerned that the prevailing dry conditions and high temperatures will likely lead to more dangerous fire conditions throughout the county.
He asks that campers take extreme care with their fires and not to allow them to burn unattended.
Badgley also reminds people that there is a year-round ban against burning garbage in the state.