The Goblin Gulch Fire is southwest of Monarch, Montana, on the Belt Creek Ranger District of the Lewis and Clark National Forest. Reported on July 30 by a military aircraft, the fire was probably caused by lightning. Firefighters worked yesterday on scouting adequate safety zones and helicopter landing zones. Crews cleared a spot for helicopters to land closer to the fire, and air resources checked on numerous spot fires on the west side of the fire.
This fire is expected to be active for a long time because of the extreme terrain and concerns for firefighter safety. The fire’s inciweb page says “Firefighter safety will not be compromised in order to suppress this wildfire.”
It’s 5 percent contained at 283 acres, and the terrain is extremely steep with a heavy timber canopy of mixed conifers. Crews have reported surface fire with individual tree torching. Work on the fire is expected to be slow. “The terrain this fire is in is really extreme,” public information officer Erin Fryer told the Great Falls Tribune. “It’s about straight up and down and very rocky. It’s been real difficult to even get firefighters in on this fire. We have about 50 firefighters on the site right now, but in terrain like that, it’s hard to get them in and out — hard and slow.”