Hundreds of homes evacuated due to wildfire north of Helena

The North Hills Fire has burned 4,225 acres 10 miles north of downtown Helena, Montana

map North Hills Fire Helena MT
Map showing the location of the North Hills Fire north of Helena, Montana. The red line was the perimeter at 9:37 p.m. MDT July 28. The red-shaded areas were areas of intense heat. The red dots on the south side represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:30 a.m. MDT July 29, 2019. Click to enlarge.

(UPDATED at 11:41 a.m. MDT July 29, 2019)

The North Hills Fire has forced the evacuation of 400 homes 10 miles north of downtown Helena, Montana. The fire was very active Sunday night, challenging firefighters who went house to house protecting private property.

An overnight mapping flight at 9:37 p.m. Sunday determined that at that time the fire had burned 4,225 acres. (see map above)

Sunday afternoon the firefighting resources assigned to the fire included 6 hand crews, 22 fire engines, and 6 helicopters for a total of 238 personnel.

Walt Jester, Chief of the Lewis and Clark Volunteer Fire Department, took some excellent photos of the fire:

North Hills Fire retardant drop
Retardant settles to the ground after being dropped by an RJ85 air tanker. Screengrab from Walter Jester’s video.

Mike Almas’ Northern Rockies Incident Management Team assumed command of the North Hills Fire at 6 a.m., Monday, July 29.

On Sunday, Governor Steve Bullock declared a state of emergency via executive order temporarily suspending “hours of service” regulations to meet increased demand for drivers’ hours spent transporting fuel and fire suppression resources.

We will update this article as more information becomes available.

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. Google+

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