HELENA — Update 08/23/22 8:26 p.m. — At a public meeting Tuesday evening residents were given a better idea of what damage was done to the area near Canyon Ferry Dam by the Rising Moon Fire.
Officials provided a more accurate estimate of acreage burned at 135 acres total. The fire is considered 50% contained as of Tuesday evening.
One power line is down, but only one home is without power at this time.
Firefighters will be remaining in the area and power company personnel will be working on power lines and poles.
Original Story 08/23/22 5:14 p.m. — On Tuesday, air attack and ground crews were able to contain the Rising Moon Fire near Canyon Ferry Dam.
Assistant Chief of Tri-Lakes Fire Department Aaron Helfert, said Tuesday morning 75% of the 200-acre fire had been contained.
“Right now there’s just been one structure and it was an outbuilding probably like a shop, a steel building shop, that it did burn completely. And the house that’s next to it had a little bit of melted siding, but we saved the house,” said Helfert.
Airtankers and helicopters made regular drops Tuesday morning while ground crews worked the area.
The fire was considered high priority due to the proximity to homes and infrastructure.
DNRC says the fire started around 9:30 p.m. Monday evening by a lightning strike from a strong storm.
Tri-Lakes Fire made a mutual aid request and multiple local agencies responded, including the DNRC and the U.S. Forest Service.
According to the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office, deputies contacted people at about 40 residences Monday night, 11 made the decision to evacuate.
Lewis And Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton is asking that people use caution when in the area.
“People, well-meaning, will try to come out to the area and see if there’s anything they can do. As firefighters are rushing to the scene oftentimes people who mean well are getting in the road. So please, if you’re traveling out to this area when you come over the hill that comes to Canyon Ferry after you break out of the valley after the glass slipper, SLOW DOWN,” said Dutton.
The Helena-Lewis and Clark Forest said there were multiple lightning-caused wildfire starts after the recent storm system moved through the area.