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"Hawk-snake" fire photos garner attention for Black Eagle Volunt - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

"Hawk-snake" fire photos garner attention for Black Eagle Volunteer Fire Department

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GREAT FALLS -

Black Eagle Volunteer Fire Department officials say the department has garnered a lot of attention from across the country and even beyond thanks to photos posted online Wednesday.

The department posted an image of a charred hawk holding a snake; both died after the snake smacked into a nearby power line as it was struggling to escape the bird's grasp.

The sparks from the encounter flew to the dry ground below, which triggered a 40-acre fire along Rainbow Dam Road east of Black Eagle and north of the Missouri River. There were no (human) injuries, and no homes or buildings were damaged. Several utility poles were damaged.

Fire officials in Cascade County say this isn't the first time wildlife has been responsible for starting a fire.

The Vaughn Volunteer Fire Department says they've had two fires started by birds recently, one by a woodpecker and the other by a hawk.

The Ulm Volunteer Fire Department says a magpie nest and a power line were responsible for a fire near Eden Road earlier this year as well.

Black Eagle fire officials say they called Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks before disposing of the charred remains of the hawk.

"It was electrocuted, but it wasn't shot or anything, like that you could tell where the snake had touched the wire. I think he was setting up on the pole itself and the snake touched the wire, which the pole is grounded and then it went out the bird and it went from there," said Dusty Thompson from the Black Eagle Volunteer Fire Department.

Thompson said that while animal-caused fires aren't uncommon, he's never seen a sight quite like that in his experience as a firefighter.

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