Mountain View fire

Firefighters work on the Mountain View fire west of Billings on Thursday. 

Throughout the day on Friday, fire crews were able to keep the Mountain View fire at four square miles in size, with crews successfully keeping containment at about 25%, said Kate Wilson, the public information officer for the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

The DNRC took charge of the fire Thursday evening with a county assist team to relieve local firefighters and provide logistical support.

As of 7 p.m. Friday night, the fire hadn’t spread, and no structures were burned throughout the day. No new warnings or evacuations were issued.

Four DNRC county assist teams were working throughout Friday to contain the fire, she said.

The fire was caused by lightning, officials determined Friday. Wilson wasn’t sure if it was lightning that struck on Wednesday.

Friday’s cooler conditions helped keep the fire from spreading throughout the day, however, there’s a slight chance of rain and scattered thunderstorms Friday night.

The storms would be closer to the Montana and Wyoming border, according to the Billings National Weather Service. Friday night will see a low of about 50 degrees in the area, but highs will reach the 80s or 90s on Saturday. Humidity levels will be at 20%, which will cause drier conditions for the fire.

By Monday afternoon, the area may see stronger winds.

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Wilson said that strong winds are always a concern, but night crews are always present to keep an eye on the flames.

Resources continued to arrive on Friday, with 22 engines on the fire, along with six tenders and three Hotshot crews. These crews work to dig fire lines and extinguish hot spots, she said.

The tactics they’re using are working well, she said, and engines will be diverted to other sections of the fire tomorrow.

“There are a lot of hands on deck here,” she said. “These crews help with the initial attack, mop up, and rehabilitation.”

Wednesday night, residents of the area were asked to evacuate after the fire crept close to homes east of Buffalo Trail. About 150 homes are in the area, according to the DNRC. The evacuation order was lifted Thursday afternoon and was not reinstated overnight.

A temporary burn ban for the county is still in effect, and Buffalo Trail Road is still closed to non-residents.

"We'd like people to stay out of the area unless they're residents because of fire traffic," she said. "We just want to keep people safe."

As of Friday night, the DNRC, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and various Hotshot crews are currently responding to the fire.

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