Red Flag Warnings issued for Montana as wildfires burn across the West

By Ben Hooper

Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Central and north-central Montana were under Red Flag Warnings Sunday until midnight, as dry and windy weather made for unpredictable fire conditions.

The National Weather Service said elevation-dependent wind gusts reading 30-45 mph, combined with low humidity and dry thunderstorms, led to Red Flag Warnings being issued for multiple counties, including Cascade, Fergus, Judith Basin, Lewis and Clark, Meagher, Glacier, Liberty, Pondera, Teton and Toole.


Firefighters from the Osage Nation in Oklahoma traveled to Montana on Sunday morning to assist with battling the wildfires that have ravaged the state for months. The firefighters were recruited by the Flat Head reservation in Montana, which often sends its own firefighters during the winter months to assist with wildfires in Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Saturday that firefighters in the state were taking advantage of lower temperatures, higher humidity and lighter winds to take a more aggressive approach to fighting the Eagle Creek Fire, which authorities said was sparked Sept. 2 by a 15-year-old boy playing with fireworks.

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The fire was burning across 33,682 acres as of Saturday and the nearly 1,000 personnel working in Oregon had the wildfire 7 percent contained.


U.S. Forest Service spokesman Paul Cerda warned the Eagle Creek Fire could double in size before it is contained, which officials projected could happen around the end of September.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said one-third of all acres currently burning in the West are in Oregon. Fire officials said the state is the top wildfire priority in the country.

RELATED LA's La Tuna fire 70 percent contained

Firefighters in Los Angeles confirmed Sunday they had achieved 100 percent containment of the La Tuna fire, which raged over nearly 7,200 acres since being ignited by still-unknown means Sept. 1.

Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department told CBS Los Angeles on Saturday that firefighters were remaining on the scene in case of flare-ups, but "there is an earthen berm all the way around" the scene of the blaze.

The La Tuna fire was blamed for 10 injuries, including six firefighters and a civilian suffering heat-related illness. The blaze scortched 7,194 acres of brush around the Verdugo Mountains.

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