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Dry weather leads to 50-acre Hi-Line fire

When the sustained high temperatures meet a lack of moisture in the ground and share a bit of those Hi-Line winds, that's fire weather. And on Tuesday evening, it began to show.

Around 5:11 p. m. the Havre Fire Department was called about a fire in a partially harvested wheat field eight miles west of town, about halfway to Kremlin.

Kremlin Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kody Peterson said his group was able to extinguish the fire in less than an hour with the help of the Havre Fire Department, Bear Paw Volunteer Fire Department and private contributors like Greg and Gary Baltrusch and Patrick Construction, all of whom he said he wanted to thank.

He also said they believe the fire was started by electrical arcs from the combine.

Peterson estimated that as much as 50 acres was burned, two-thirds of which was uncut crops.

The National Weather Service in Great Falls issued urgent fire weather warnings Tuesday because of "low humidities and breezy westerly winds. "

"Most everybody is super-vigilant about it anyway, but it just helps to have some sort of fire fighting apparatus, like a fire extinguisher, close by so you can get it while (the fire is) small and get it out, " Peterson said.

Aside from individual concern, the warnings also advise the fire crews in the area to be particularly alert.

Havre's Assistant Fire Chief Tim Hedges recognizes the threat.

"It is getting drier out. The plausibility of having a grass fire is increasing, " Hedges said. "Harvest has come upon us right now, and there are some dangers when you're cutting wheat. "

For anyone who may spend any time among the the local expanses of brittle beige wildfire fuel in the next few days, Hedges has four words of advice.

"Be careful. Be cautious. "


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