The July Fire burns 1,000+ acres near Zortman, Montana

photo uly Fire Montana

Above: Photo of the July Fire. Inciweb, July 3, 2017.  

(Originally published at 8:30 p.m. MDT July 4, 2017)
(Updated at 10:16 p.m. MDT July 4, 2017)

(At about 10 p.m. July 4 the BLM said the July fire had burned 1,669 acres and had 136 personnel assigned.)

One of the first significant wildfires in Montana this year is burning near the small town of Zortman off U.S. Highway 191 in the north-central part of the state 75 miles south of the Canadian border.

There is not a lot of timber in that part of the state but it is burning in the southern end of a 60,000-acre area of mixed timber on Bureau of Land Management lands.

3-D Map July Fire Montana
3-D map of the July Fire, as of 2:30 p.m. MDT July 4, 2017.

It is being battled by firefighters from BLM,
U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Phillips County Volunteers.

After it was discovered Monday afternoon it was attacked by 11 engines, 1 water tender, 4 air tankers (1 heavy and 3 SEATs), 3 helicopters, and 8 smokejumpers from West Yellowstone.

Our very unofficial estimate based on satellite data indicates that as of 2:30 p.m. MDT on Tuesday it had burned approximately 1,150 acres.

Zortman, with a population of 69 in the 2010 census, could be threatened by the fire west of town on Wednesday, with the forecast of Red Flag Warnings, 13 percent relative humidity, and northwest winds of 5 to 15 mph with gusts up to 25 mph.

In the video below, apparently the videographer missed the air tanker that is usually a few seconds behind the lead plane after they pop smoke.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Chris.
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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “The July Fire burns 1,000+ acres near Zortman, Montana”

  1. Zortman is well known to Montana history buffs. The Montana Historical Society’s definitive book on local place names is titled “Montana Place Names: from Alzada to Zortman”. Fortunately, but most hopefully not, being an inactive geographic spot does not disqualify a place from entry on the list. Zortman will never have to give up its place in the title. For anyone who wants to read the guide, MHS put it up online along with an interactive map,


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