Bear Paw fire listed at 8,500 acres

Hill County DES reports 45 percent containment, Rocky Boy reports zero percent contained on reservation side


Last updated 9/8/2022 at 3:14pm

Courtesy Hill County DES Coordinator Amanda Frickel

The fire in the Bear Paw Mountains that was reported at 2,000 acres this morning -- but growing rapidly -- was listed at 8,500 acres this afternoon, with Hill County Disaster and Emergency Services reporting at 2 p.m. that it was 45 percent contained but Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation reporting at about 1 p.m. zero percent containment on the reservation side.

A post about 1 p.m. on the Chippewa Creek Tribe Facebook page said the fire, which started on the reservation on Mount Baldy apparently Wednesday, was at about 8,500 acres in its entirety and zero percent contained on the reservation side.

The estimated acreage included the fire perimeter both on and off the reservation, the post said.

The fire is now burning in Hill, Chouteau and Blaine counties.

The post said Rocky Boy's local fire personnel and volunteer fire departments were working with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation on containing the fire.

Hill County Disaster and Emergency Services Coordinator Amanda Frickel said about 2 that all three counties are giving mutual aid in fighting the fire.

Frickel reported the fire as 45 percent contained.

The Chippewa Cree post reported that no evacuations had been ordered at that time for local Rocky Boy residents. It reported the mountains on Rocky Boy on both the Beaver Creek and Big Sandy Creek sides were closed until further notice and hunting is not allowed in the mountains until further notice.

Cattle on the reservation were not in danger at the time the notice was posted and that situation was being closely monitored. Cattle have been observed staying clear of the fire and are considered safe, the post said.

Frickel said one cabin had burned but no injuries were reported as of around 2 p.m.

The Chippewa Cree post said continued air operations to fight the fire were being implemented today as the fire activity was increasing. Due to the air operations no civilian access is allowed in the area.

"Please refrain form going up to the fire areas as you will be asked to turn around," the post said. "Law enforcement is on-site."

The post asked people to adhere to the closures and said more updates will be given later in the day.


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