Wildland firefighters battle Crying Fire, Petroleum County

The Crying Fire burns in Petroleum County west of the Musselshell River and northeast of Winnett on July 19, 2017.

BLM photo courtesy of Anika Peila

The Crying Fire has been active, growing to 5,600 acres July 20, 2017, and burning into the southern tip of the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge.

The Crying Fire is located in Petroleum County west of the Musselshell River and about 30 miles northeast of Winnett, Montana.

The fire made a push to the east and jumped the Dry Blood Road, but wildland firefighters do not expect the fire to jump the Musselshell River. Burnout operations continue on the east flank. Crews are making progress with direct and indirect tactics, and brought the fire to 20-percent containment as of Thursday evening.  

The south side of the fire is holding at this time, and Gibbs Coulee is burning out in the interior. Crews have found a small drainage in the northwest corner of the fire to tie into Drag Creek, forming the proposed north line. Further burnout operations are planned as conditions warrant.

A strong Type III Organization was mobilized to battle the Crying Fire. Crews have responded from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Petroleum County. There are 76 wildland firefighters including a Type-2 initial attack crew from Tennessee, Helitack, two Type-3 BLM helicopters, one air attack plane, 12 engines, one water tender and two Canadian CL-215 scooper planes. The Canadian CL-215 scooper planes have been very effective. The Crying Fire battle is being led by BLM Incident Commander Scott Meneely.

The Crying Fire was reported mid-day July 19, 2017 and is burning in grass, sage and timber on BLM, private, state and Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge lands. The fire is within about a quarter mile of the nearest of five structures at the east end of 79 Trail Road.

For more information, go to https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5389/ or contact Public Information Officer Jonathan Moor (406)-366-9274 jmoor@blm.gov .

The cause of the fire is has not yet been determined. To report wildfires, call 911 or the Lewistown Interagency Dispatch Center at (406) 538-1072.



When do you think the snow will finally be melted in Lewistown?