Human Caused Black Mountain Fire Grows to Nearly 20 Acres
The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation continues to battle the Black Mountain Fire burning near the Sherman Gulch area and one home was evacuated on Thursday.
KGVO News spoke to Kristen Mortensen on Friday after the management of the fire was handed over to the DNRC. Mortensen provided these details as of Friday.
“It's a human start and specifics are being investigated, but it is burning in grass and timber just northwest of Missoula between Sherman Gulch and Martin Gulch,” said Mortensen. “It is currently about 17 and a half acres in size and as of this (Friday) morning, it is 50 percent contained.”
Mortensen described the resources available to fight the fire.
“It is under the management of the DNRC, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and we have multiple resources fighting the fire right now,” she said. “They include helicopters that we can use when needed. We have single-engine air tankers that are also available if we need them. We have five engines and two type two hand crews, as well as a dozer, a skidgen, and two water tenders that are working on the fire right now trying to hit it hard.”
Mortensen said fortunately, there are no homes or buildings in the path of the fire.
“There are no structures threatened at this time and it is up in timber,” she said. “It is located on private land which is classified as forested land, so, there’s no agricultural threat there. There are some campers in the area, but all residences are at least a mile away, so there is not that threat at this time.”
Since the fire was human-caused, Mortensen reminds KGVO listeners and website readers that individuals can be held liable for the costs of fighting a fire.
“If you cause a spark that leads to a wildfire, that can threaten public land and residences, and if that requires any suppressive actions, then that costs money, and so that's why we investigate these fires,” she said. “If the evidence leads to an individual or someone that that can be proved to have started that fire, they can be liable for the costs of that fire.”
The Black Mountain fire was first reported on Wednesday by several individuals near the Kona Ranch Road and Big Flat Road.