South Moccasin Fire

UPDATE: OCT. 7 AT 9 A.M.

The South Moccasin Fire has grown to 12,800 acres in size with 45% containment Thursday.

A release from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation County Assist Team said fire crews are continuing to patrol the finished line on the north and east end of the fire. They are mopping up hot spots and keeping a watch on fire activity on the perimeter.

Fire activity is expected to moderately decrease and fire spread is expected to decrease in the days ahead due to colder temperatures and higher relative humidity. There is a likely chance of rain with a tenth of an inch to pile up by Saturday morning. 

Smoke and fire activity may be visible from Lewistown as interior pockets continue to burn out. 


LEWISTOWN, Mont. - Five structures have been destroyed by the fast moving South Moccasin fire.

In just two days, the fire has managed to consume over 12,000 acres.

It's burning just 7 miles northwest of Lewistown in steep mountain terrain, right now it's burning mostly on private land.

On Oct. 4, when the fire started, you could see the giant plume of smoke from the outskirts of Billings in the day - over 125 miles from where the fire is burning.

By nightfall, you could see the flames from just outside of Belt, still over 80 miles away from where it's burning.

"We're seeing August conditions in October," said Alex Schwier, Public Information Officer for the County Assist Team.

On top of high temperatures crews also are battling wind gusts up to 35 miles an hour on ridgetops and low humidity.

"The conditions are just in place for extreme fire behavior," said Schwier.

Firefighters are battling the blaze a few different ways, and one of the ways they're fighting the fire is with strategic burn operations.

"If we burn away that area between the main fire and our constructive line, it takes that fuel away from the fire and it can't keep moving that direction anymore," said Schwier.

Overall, it stops the fire from moving forward past that point.

"When we plan a burn the other thing we can do make it so the fire's not burning as hot as the main fire is. Which can be helpful just so there isn't the same intensity of heat if the main fire rolls through that area," said Schwier.

On InciWeb, you can see an estimated containment date is listed for Oct. 10.

Schwier says this date is determined by fire managers.

"Based on fuels, weather conditions, all of that kind of go into the decision of that containment date," said Schwier.

As of 3:06 P.M. on Oct. 6, the fire is 0% contained.

As of an update around 7:00 pm Wednesday, the fire is now reported to be 12,800 acres large, and is 45% contained.

The cause of the fire is still undetermined.

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