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Wildfire near Cardwell subsides

May 04, 2024

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A wildfire on Doherty Mountain near Cardwell subsided Wednesday and firefighters were hopeful it could be knocked out soon.

Air tankers dropped several loads of retardant along the fire's edges Tuesday, slowing its forward progression, and cooler temperatures and cloud cover helped conditions Wednesday. The fire had burned about 110 acres.


The wildfire on Doherty Mountain near Cardwell as shown by an aerial photo Wednesday, burned around 110 acres before firefighters got a hold on it this week.

Helicopter reconnaissance showed fire no fire spots outside of retardant lines Wednesday, smoke was light, and crews hoped they could finish the fire off and leave within the next few days, Matt Larson, incident commander in training, told The Montana Standard at the scene.

Eighty to 90 crew members were working the fire Wednesday, and engines from the U.S. Forest Service and Montana DNRC assisted. Helicopters and an air tanker were also deployed after the fire was discovered Tuesday.

A helicopter takes off from a fire crew staging area near Doherty Mountain on Wednesday, August 2. This helicopter was used for a recon flight to scout the mountain and find any fires that may be behind the hand line created by the Forest Service.

Officials said engines from local fire departments also responded, “highlighting the importance of our inter-agency partners and local resources.”

The fire was reported around 1 p.m. Tuesday on the mountain near Cardwell, about 12 miles east of Whitehall and 45 miles east of Butte.

Ground crew organizers talk at a staging area near Doherty Mountain on Wednesday. Since the fire started Tuesday, ground crews have been able to slow much of the fire's progress.

“Fuels are drying out quickly with our recent hot and dry conditions, increasing their susceptibility to burn,” the Forest Service said. “The fire was terrain-driven, given its location in steeper country and slopes present. These fuels and weather conditions, especially when aligned with slope and topography, often result in active fire behavior.”

Smoke and red fire-retardant coats the hills outside Cardwell, Montana on Wednesday, August 2.

Mike Smith is a reporter at the Montana Standard with an emphasis on government and politics.

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