Crews work to contain Lodgepole fire

Published: Jul. 28, 2017 at 11:41 AM CDT
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After more than 272,000 acres have burned, crews are gaining the upper hand fighting the Lodgepole Fire.

For the last nine days crews have battled the heat and dry conditions fighting the Lodgepole fire from their base camp near Sand Springs, Mont.

"This fire was actually four fires when it started. It just moved so fast and rapidly that they weren't able to get a line around all of them right away," said Tim Engrav, Western Montana Incident Response Team.

Thursday, crews saw something that has been extremely rare in Garfield County this year: Rain.

"We've had really good, cooperative weather for firefighting efforts. Low winds, so it stopped pushing the fire," said Engrav.

The latest numbers show the fire is about 62 percent contained, and that should continue to rise.

"I expect that the containment numbers will be going up today and tomorrow. Really, if they get a lot of good work done today, they're gonna be working through the mop-up and have the containment in place in the next few days," said Engrav.

More than 600 people from across the country have come to aid about 150 locals in combating the blaze. They are more than happy to lend a hand.

"It's great. It takes the people from out of region a few days to get out here, but that's one great thing about the fire community. When you really look at it, it's a really big community, but at the same time, it's really small," said Ryan Vigil, Sante Fe, New Mexico.

Thirty miles up the road in Jordan, Mont., volunteers have been processing hundreds of donations that have flooded in from across the country.

"It really shows the spirit of America that we pull together in hard times and we all care and we love each other," said Brinda Pluhar, Garfield County resident.

While the devastation has impacted many of those in the area, locals are confident they will pull through.

"These people are very resilient. This county has been through tough times before and we've come out on top, and we plan on doing it again," said Pluhar.

When the fire is finally contained, farmers and ranchers in the area will be able to take stock of the damage and begin to rebuild. Reporting from Garfield County Montana.

As more of the fire is contained, volunteers will be dispersed to other fires that need the help.