Mount Helena fire now 100% contained, drone probe continues

Phil Drake

The Mount Helena fire is now 100% contained and fire crews continue efforts to work the area, officials said Tuesday, adding the cause of the 18-acre blaze that sent shivers through nearby homeowners and hikers remains under investigation.

John Huston, forestry division program manager with the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), said fire crews reached 100% containment Monday night.

“The fire is looking good,” he said.

Huston said the investigation is also continuing into the person who flew an unauthorized drone over the fire scene Sunday, delaying efforts of firefighting aircraft to drop retardant on the blaze.

Huston said officials were considering levying a fine against the operator of the drone, which was confiscated by authorities.

Huston was asked if he thought most drone operators knew they were not supposed to fly their craft over firefighting scenes.

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“I would think they would know but it’s hard to say,” he said. “It seems like they know but don’t care. This happens far too often.”

A fire was reported Sunday on Mount Helena.

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