Archives for July 2019

Residents impacted by the North Hills fire are getting lots of community support

Residents impacted by the North Hills fire are getting lots of community support, including from Carroll College. Rooms are available for temporary shelter at the campus, as well as, animal boarding, and/or parking for RVs or other vehicles for those in need, according to a news release Tuesday, as reported online. Individuals who have been evacuated due to the fire can contact Carroll College for more informaion about these services.

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HELENA – The North Hills Fire forced NorthWestern Energy to suspend operations at Hauser Dam for several days. A company spokesperson reported they shut down generation units and evacuated the facility Saturday. Two operators, however, returned to the facility Tuesday morning, and had production back at full capacity by the end of the day. NorthWestern officials say they haven’t found damage at other electrical distribution facilities.
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Drivers who rely on Sierra Road will have to find an alternate route

Drivers who rely on Sierra Road will have to find an alternate route as work gets underway on the Trap Club Flood Mitigation Project Wednesday (July 31). Lewis and Clark County officials are advising travelers to avoid the area if possible, and expect delays if you do travel Sierra Road around Montana Avenue. New culverts are being installed which will help move water away from properties in the Helena Valley and prevent flooding on roads and in homes, officials said.
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Thunderstorms blamed for multiple wildfires

Thunderstorms that passed through the area Tuesday sparked multiple wildfires in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson and Broadwater counties. Air tankers and more than a dozen firefighters battled blazes in the Owl Gulch and Beaver Creek Road area, forcing about a dozen homes to evacuate. Crews also responded to small fires near Winston and Craig following Tuesday’s storm, as well as several other communities in the area, according to a press release from the Lewis & Clark Sheriff’s office.
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Gov. Steve Bullock has issued an executive order declaring a state of energy emergency

HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock has issued an executive order declaring a state of energy emergency to meet the demand for aviation fuel and other fire suppression resources as crews battle multiple wildfires burning in Montana. Gov. Bullock also secured federal FEMA funding to help fight Helena’s North Hills Fire, according to a news release. The North Hills Fire is being fanned by red flag weather conditions, officials said, including strong winds and heavy fuel loads.

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HELENA – The Helena community responded quickly to a call for help, when Lewis and Clark Co. Emergency Management announced they were seeking donations of bottled water and sports drinks for firefighters battling the North Hills Fire. Officials said they collected more than a dozen pallets of water and now have plenty of drinks for firefighters working round the clock to contain the fast moving fire. If you’d like to help, monetary donations for the Rural Fire Council are still being accepted at Helena Safeway, according to a press release.
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Charges filed against Helena man accused of kidnapping and raping ex girlfriend

A 33-year-old Helena man accused of kidnapping and raping his ex girlfriend earlier this month has been charged with two felonies. Taylor Charles Pearce allegedly held the victim against her will July 14 as she was moving out and then forced himself on her, according to reports from the Lewis and Clark County sheriff’s office. Pearce was taken into custody. He is facing felony aggravated kidnapping and sexual assault in connection to the incident.
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Hundreds of homes evacuated as fire near Helena quickly spreads

We’re continuing to follow that fast moving fire near Helena, with the latest infrared map showing the North Hills fire has now scorched over 4,000 acres, officials reported Monday. As of Monday morning dozens of fire departments remained on the scene of the quickly growing fire, which started Friday afternoon on BLM property between Hauser Dam and I-15, and additional firefighting personnel and equipment are continuing to come in. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said nearly 500 homes near the fire have been ordered to evacuate.
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It took multiple crews to contain a 20-acre grass fire in Broadwater County

It took multiple crews to contain a 20-acre grass fire in Broadwater County. Forest Service vehicles, Townsend, Toston, Radersburg and Duck Fire firefighters and vehicles, as well as a helicopter dispatched from Helena assisted with the fast moving fire Thursday night on the north side of Lower Deep Creek Road that threatened two structures before crews were able to stop the blaze.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.

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Fun fun on the water turned fatal for Great Falls teen Saturday

Fun in the water turned fatal for a Great Falls teen Saturday afternoon. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said 17-year-old David Delcomte fell to his death while diving off a roughly 40-foot cliff into the Missouri River north of Helena, while boating with his family near Gates of the Mountains, where an outcrop of rocks was not visible from the surface. Search and rescue divers later found the teen’s body in about 30 feet of water just south of Mann Gulch, Dutton said. Delcomte’s exact cause of death is pending an autopsy.
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Officials believe speeding was factor in fatal crash on Helena’s east side

Officials believe speeding was a factor in a fatal crash Saturday morning on Helena’s east side. Austin McKittrick, 19, was killed when he collided with a semi-truck near Prospect Avenue and Carter Drive, the Helena Police Department reported. The investigation is continuing.
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North Hills fire near Helena is still burning

The North Hills fire near Helena is still burning. As of Sunday night the blaze was up from about 100 acres the day before, and estimated to be at more than 2,600 acres. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff/Coroner Leo Dutton, along with other local leaders met at Warren Elementary School Saturday, to update evacuated residents and answer questions about the status of the blaze, according to a news release.

MEANWHILE….

Officials said additional crews from across Montana and Idaho as well as three hot shot squads will be arriving this week to help battle the blaze. The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but Dutton said there is strong evidence showing it may be human-caused.
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