Great Falls- After making progress on the Balsinger fire, the Cascade County Sheriffs' office gave a live Facebook update saying the fire is still growing.

Officials say the Balsinger fire is continuing to grow due to the current weather conditions, but with Governor Greg Gianforte declaring a statewide wildland fire emergency, Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter says this could allow more resources to be directed to crews on the ground.

On July 12th the Balsinger fire was reported to be between 900 and 1,500 acres, and now it’s reported to be just over 1,600 acres, but Slaughter says help and resources are on the way.

"The National Guard is in the process of getting trained up now to respond to that, and they also have air assets now that they can dedicate to it. Helicopters and different things like that. So, it was good timing on his part because I think we're definitely going to need it," said Slaughter.

CCSO also gave an update about new changes within the jail after signing into a new contract with the feds.

The jail is moving all 150 state inmates to the Shelby prison to help take in roughly 50 federal inmates.

Since July 1st the detention center has been turned into just a county jail to provide help for the U-S Marshall Service, but Slaughter says this new change will benefit them as well.

"It's basically jail expansion without having to spend $100M on a bond and a levy to get that type of expansion."

Thanks to this change the jail will have close to 130 beds available, and will also provide more safety for the inmates in the future.


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