Wildland fire sparks east of East Helena

Nolan Lister

Rural volunteer fire departments are responding to a first alarm wildland fire near a subdivision off U.S. Highway 12 east of Helena Thursday afternoon.

The fire, about 60 to 70 acres in size, according to Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Forestry Division Program Manager John Huston, is threatening structures in the area of Spokane Creek and Matt Staff roads.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff and Fire Warden Leo Dutton said Thursday at 4 p.m. that Spokane Creek and Matt Staff roads are now closed to traffic.

Dutton said homes along Matt Staff Road that are threatened have been evacuated, and that all agencies are trying to coordinate an evacuation plan “for where it’s heading.”

“It looks like it’s going to burn into Broadwater County,” Dutton said.

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Tri-Lakes Volunteer Fire Department was initially paged, and responding firefighters called for mutual aid at 2:51 p.m.

A Tri-Lakes Fire volunteer evacuated three children out of one house.

DNRC sent two engines. DNRC also launched air support by 3:15 p.m., including three helicopters and two airplanes.

U.S. Forest Service and numerous volunteer rural fire departments also responded.

According to dispatch, multiple starts flared

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