July fire causes evacuations west of Zortman, Montana

At 6 p.m. on Thursday the incident management team reported that the fire had burned 8,381 acres.

Firefighters July Fire Zortman Montana

Above: Firefighters on the July Fire near Zortman, Montana

(Originally published at 12:28 p.m. MDT July 6, 2017)
(Updated at 12:50.m. MDT July 7, 2017)

Here is another updated map of the July Fire at Zortman, Montana current as of 3:30 a.m. MDT July 7, 2017. Click the map to see a larger version. We will post additional information when it becomes available.

map july wildfire zortman montana
The red, brown, and yellow dots on the map of the July Fire represent heat detected by a satellite. The red dots are the most recent, recorded at 3:30 a.m. MDT July 7, 2017. It is likely that light fuels that burned in some of the gray-colored areas did not retain heat long enough for the next satellite overflight, so red dots did not show up in some locations. Click to enlarge.

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(Updated at 6:04 p.m. MDT July 6, 2017)

The July Fire in northern Montana west of Zortman was very active Thursday. A change in wind direction pushed the fire to the northwest in the general direction of the community of Landusky and the Little Rockies Christian Camp. A mandatory evacuation is in effect for Landusky; the camp is currently vacant and the caretaker has left. The fire is east and southeast of both locations.

The weather forecast for the fire area at 3,600 feet elevation predicts the wind out of the southeast will continue on Thursday, blowing at 9 mph gusting up to 15. The temperature will top out at 90 degrees with a minimum relative humidity of 20 percent. The actual conditions at Zortman at 3:30 p.m. were 86 degrees, 20 percent RH, and winds out of the east and southeast at 8 to 11, gusting to 18.

In the updated map below (click it to see a larger version) which shows data from 1:32 p.m. MDT on Thursday, the fire has moved further to the west and appears to be less than a mile away from Landusky.

map July Fire Zortman Montana
The red, brown, and yellow dots on the map of the July Fire represent heat detected by a satellite. The red dots are the most recent, recorded at 1:32 p.m. MDT July 6, 2017. It is likely that light fuels that burned in some of the gray-colored areas did not retain heat long enough for the next satellite overflight, so red dots did not show up in some locations. Click to enlarge.

At 6 p.m on Thursday it had burned 8,381 acres, which is about four times the last reported acreage.

A Type 2 incident management team assumed command of the fire at 6 a.m. Thursday.

July Fire, July 6, 2017
The July Fire, July 6, 2017. Inciweb photo.
Firefighters July Fire Zortman Montana
Firefighters on the July Fire. Inciweb photo.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

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