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Fire in Montana forest chars 400 acres; smokejumpers, hotshots respond

by Helena Dore, Bozeman (Mont.) Daily Chronicle |

A fire that started in the Bridger Mountains north of the “M” trail Friday afternoon has spread to 400 acres, officials from the Custer Gallatin National Forest reported at around 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Forest Service reported the Bridger Foothills fire at 80 acres at 6 p.m. Friday. Firefighters worked all night to protect structures, with 110 people responding Saturday morning.

The Midnight Sun Interagency Hotshot Crew and smokejumpers are digging line, Gallatin County Emergency Management said Saturday.
All off-duty firefighters at the Bozeman Fire Department were called in to assist in the response Friday evening, the department reported. Two large air tankers, four single engine air tankers, four helicopters, two hand crews, smokejumpers and engine crews were responding Friday evening.

More crews, another large air tanker and two single engine air tankers are expected to arrive Saturday, according to the Forest Service.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Warm weather and red flag conditions were expected Saturday, with a cold front predicted to move in Sunday night. A red flag warning is in effect until midnight.