Crews battle wildfire near Park Lake

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Jesse Chaney

Emergency crews responded to a wildfire on the east side of Park Lake in the Helena Ranger District of the the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Friday.

The fire started around midnight and has burned an estimated 3 to 5 acres so far in a thick lodgepole pine forest with dead and down beetle-killed trees. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Park Lake Picnic Area and Campground are closed for fire operations but are not threatened. 

A 20-person type II crew and four helicopters responded, along with the Montana City Volunteer Fire Department and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. The helicopters are drawing water from Park Lake, and their efforts have been successful, officials said. 

“We are continuing to work to fully suppress this fire, with the assistance of our cooperators, this afternoon,” Helena District Ranger Kathy Bushnell said Friday. “So far, the fire behavior has moderated which has aided efforts on the ground.”

Officials are asking drivers to reduce speeds on the roads between Clancy and Park Lake, and to

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