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NH firefighters assigned to battle 'Garden Creek' wildfire in Montana

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 08. 2018 10:57AM
A view of the Garden Greek wildfire, two miles north of Hot Springs, Mont., from Aug. 5. A team of 18 New Hampshire firefighters has been assigned to help fight the fire. (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of Fire)

HOT SPRINGS, Mont. — The 18 New Hampshire firefighters who deployed this past weekend to assist in fighting wildfires across the west have received their assignment: the Garden Creek wildfire in Montana.

The blaze, started by lightning July 29, has spread to 524 acres and is 5 percent contained, according to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of Fire. 

The wildfire is on the tribes’ land in the Lolo National Forest amid steep, rocky terrain.

There are currently 165 fire personnel, including 40 firefighters, assigned to the Garden Creek fire. 

“It’s in the early stages. The hope is they’ll be able to get a line constructed around it to stop it from growing,” said Doug Miner, a forest ranger with the NH Division of Forests and Lands who is helping to organize the effort. “But the weather conditions out there are the biggest things hampering fire suppression.”

A high-pressure front is expected to bring hot, dry conditions to the area for the rest of the week.

The fire is not currently threatening any buildings, according to the CSKT Division of Fire, but it has prompted several road closures.

This year, the nation’s fire services have been strained by another summer of large wildfires threatening forests and population centers. The Mendocino Complex Fire, in California, recently became the largest recorded in the state’s history, spreading to more than 290,000 acres.

The New Hampshire team will be deployed in the west for two weeks. If the Garden Creek wildfire is determined to be contained within that time, they could be transported to assist with another fire.

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