Wildfire Causes Evacuation of Montana Town

Fire near Seeley Lake is one of 19 in Montana

 

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Authorities in Montana ordered the evacuation of nearly 600 homes after a fire burning on a mountain ridge suddenly changed direction and threatened a popular destination for boaters, anglers and hikers.

The fire near Seeley Lake is one of 19 large fires in Montana and 52 large fires burning across the U.S. West on Tuesday, including one that shut down a road into Yosemite National Park, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.

In Montana, the wind shifted Monday night and blew a 48-square-mile (124-square-kilometer) fire within a half-mile of homes and buildings, which led the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office to order evacuations.

Martha McManus and Gary Ikerd were among a handful of residents who stayed the night at a shelter in Missoula. They told Montana Public Radio that they believe the fire will only strengthen the close-knit community.

“Things happen and sometimes it’s an accident and you don’t really know where to go or what to do,” said McManus, 69. “

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