Matt Staff Road fire continues to burn west of Canyon Ferry Lake

Nolan Lister

A wildland fire that ignited about five miles east of East Helena Thursday has grown to 1,538 acres with no containment as of Friday.

John Huston, program manager of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Forestry Division, said in a phone interview Friday morning that earlier in the day, the fire was mapped and the new acreage is “fairly accurate.” At one time the fire had been estimated at 1,900 acres.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, but a DNRC news release sent Friday afternoon said “(t)he fire is believed to be human caused and is under investigation.”

The Matt Staff Road fire originally burned grassland, then crested the ridge between East Helena and Canyon Ferry Lake and began to burn brush, Huston said.

DNRC Fire Information Officer Wyatt Frampton said a DNRC County Assist Type III fire team of about 40 assumed command of the fire by noon Friday. Type III teams are multi-agency teams used for extended incidents. The local team includes representatives of DNRC, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management as well as local fire departments, law enforcement agencies and government. The fire is burning on land under the protection

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