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Local talks similarities between fires decades apart

East Fork Fire like Centennial Fire, local says


November 7, 2017

Courtesy photo/Jim Tautges

Smoke rises from Mount Centennial during a flareup of the Centennial Fire in 1984.

A Havre man who fought the Centennial Mountain Fire in the Bear Paw Mountains in 1984 says there are many similarities between this summer's East Fork Fire and the blaze he battled long ago.

Jim Tautges of Havre had been on the Bear Paw Volunteer Fire Department about three of his 13 total years, he said, when lightning struck Aug. 19, 1984, and started the Centennial Mountain Fire on Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.

"As a volunteer, you just dropped whatever you were doing and went to the firefighting," Tautges said.

The crew of about 20 volunteers had never seen anything that big and s...

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