Rock Creek Fire at 600 Acres - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Rock Creek Fire at 600 Acres

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BILLINGS -

The Rock Creek Fire is at 600 acres and is still zero percent contained. Three homes and the Rock Creek Resort have been evacuated.

Three heavy air tankers and people on the ground have been battling the fire.

Approximately 70 people have been working on the fire, which is five miles south of Red Lodge.

"Just over the road over here there was flames and nobody could do anything about it," said Bill Cords, a resident who saw the Rock Creek Fire start. "It had just started and so we called 911, Red Lodge Fire and Rescue responded as quickly as they could."

The fire is currently along highway 212. Crews' goals are to prevent the fire from going over the ridge onto West Fork Road where Red Lodge's watershed is located.

"They say we have ground forces working to do burnout operations up on the ridge behind me," said Jeff Gildehaus, Rock Creek Fire's spokesperson. "We have three heavy air tankers coming out of Billings and dropping fire retardant on the upper portions of the fire."

Burn out operations are used to remove fuel found in the ground.

"There's a bulldozer line right behind me going up the ridge and that's a containment line and now they're burning out against it," Gildehaus said. "And that's to remove fuel and the chances that a fire jumping across the line later on if the wind changes direction."

Firefighters say some of the challenges they face are steep, heavily rugged terrain because it threatens firefighter safety. High winds and the hot dry weather can fuel the flames too. Right now, firefighters are keeping the fire within the canyon.

The Type 2 Incident management team will take over Thursday morning. Roads are closed along US Highway 212, three miles south of Red Lodge and at Long Lake Gate in Wyoming at the base of the Beartooth pass. The fire is human-caused, but is still under investigation.

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