BILLINGS, Mont. — Two fast-moving wildfires — including a new one that grew from three to more than 30 square miles overnight — have triggered new evacuations in southeastern Montana.
Firefighters are battling a potent mix of lightning strikes, dry weather and flame-whipping winds as they try to contain the 290-square-mile Ash Creek fire near Ashland and the 31-square mile Horse Creek fire south of Hysham.
Authorities say the Ash Creek fire jumped Highway 212 west of Broadus early Monday. The Powder River County Sheriff’s Office was evacuating Sonnette and Ten Mile Creek roads.
The Horse Creek fire is the largest of more than a dozen fires sparked by weekend lightning strikes. Authorities say the fire is threatening houses, a natural gas pipeline and a transmission line in remote southeast Treasure County.
The National Interagency Fire Center says the state has 10 large fires burning compared to Colorado’s seven and eight in Utah.
About 208,000 acres, or 323 square miles, were burning in Montana compared to about 152,000 in Colorado.