By Alan Sorensen
A range fire contained on Rocky Boys Reservation yesterday continues to plague firefighters today.
Chippewa Cree Tribal fire management officer William Lodgepole said firefighters from Rocky Boy and the Big Sandy and Bear Paw volunteer fire departments were continuing to battle the blaze shortly before 10 a.m. today. Fire engines belonging to the tribe and to Ted Solomon and about 120 firefighters were at the scene.
Its not controlled, yet; it is still contained, Lodgepole said in a telephone interview this morning.
The fire was discovered shortly after noon Tuesday near a residence at the crest of Gardipees Hill about six miles north of the Agency. It was contained to about 600 acres by Tuesday noon.
At that time, Tribal Forestry manager Tom Nemeth said that he hoped that the wind would cooperate and crews could have the fire controlled by Tuesday evening. Nemeth noted that none of the homes in the area had been threatened as of noon Wednesday.
The fire apparently doubled in size and scope over night, according to Lodgepole.
Probably, I estimate (the fire) at 1,200 acres, Lodgepole said. Three homes were threatened, but theyre OK now. We had some wheat fields that were threatened, also, but hopefully that was taken care of yesterday. Other than that, it was all rangeland that was burned.
Lodgepole said crews are expected to remain on site throughout today and this evening in hopes of controlling the fire.
Were shooting for late this evening, he said. They havent given a specific time when well call it controlled.
Lodgepole said that crews will remain at the scene for several hours even after the fire is controlled to guard against rekindling. Theyll remain on watch throughout the night.