Montana wildfire spreads over 1K acres; personnel can't safely fight on ground

Wet weather is expected to aid efforts to fight the No Grass Creek Fire

A western Montana wildfire has spread over 1,000 acres, tearing through Helena National Forest. 

The No Grass Creek Fire is located in the Helena Ranger District, an area that has experienced large amounts of tree mortality.

The 1,003-acre blaze is 0% contained and the Powell County Sheriff's Office said resources on the fire have been assessing values at risk.

Because of the current state of the dead timber in the area, the forest service said that it is "neither safe nor effective to put fire personnel into the area." 

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"Fire personnel are managing from the air, while other firefighters are observing the fire’s progression, activity and overall behavior within the planning area from various vantage points on the district," it said. 

The No Grass Creek Fire burning through forest

The No Grass Creek Fire burning through forest (Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest)

A closure order is in effect around the fire.

In addition, due to the remote location of the fire, no homes or private property are threatened by the No Grass Creek Fire, allowing the fire to naturally function and provide ecological benefits. 

The No Grass Creek Fire in an area on the Helena Ranger District

The No Grass Creek Fire in an area on the Helena Ranger District (Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest)

However, wildfire smoke from this fire and others in the region have forced officials to issue air quality alerts for most western counties.

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The state's Department of Environmental Quality said Monday that air quality had reached unhealthy levels.

The No Grass Creek fire is located in Powell County

The No Grass Creek fire is located in Powell County (Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest )

"Many active wildfires in western Montana, Idaho and eastern Oregon are putting out smoke that has blanketed much of the state," it warned. 

The forest service said that the district had developed a management strategy based on real-time factors, as well as site-specific weather forecasts.

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The sheriff's office says cooler conditions are expected through the week as some Pacific moisture starts moving into the fire area.