Murray fire near Helmville now listed at 55 acres

Phil Drake

The estimated size of the Murray fire 12 miles southwest of Helmville was downsized to 55 acres Tuesday, officials said.

Earlier estimates had the fire at 75 acres.

The fire, which was reported about 6 a.m. Monday, is now being managed as a Type 3 Incident with 130 personnel on-site, the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation said. Fire behavior is active.

The DNRC said Tuesday’s objectives were to keep fire growth to a minimum using aircraft to slow the fire’s forward progress while ground crews prepare to engage once winds and fire behavior calms down. 

The fire, named after nearby Murray Creek and being managed under the command of the DNRC, is 0% contained and the cause is undetermined. It’s in a steep area that has limited access, and initial firefighting Monday was by helicopters and large air tankers. The fire is on Bureau of Land Management property under the protection of the DNRC

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In Type 3 incidents, organizations manage initial fire attacks with a significant number of resources until containment/control is achieved.

Assistant editor Phil Drake can be reached at 406-231-9021.

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