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Chief Mountain Hotshots fight fires with honor and expertise - KBZK.com | Continuous News | Bozeman, Montana

Chief Mountain Hotshots fight fires with honor and expertise

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BROWNING - While the Strawberry, Crucifixion Creek, and Scalp fires were getting drenched by recent rain and snow, the Chief Mountain Hotshots of the Blackfeet Nation spent Friday at their Browning headquarters.

The crew's first day on the Strawberry Fire near Dupuyer was September 11 and with structures and grazing land at risk, they worked 38 hours straight.

The wet weather is giving the firefighters a well-needed break but they expect to be back on the line soon.

"It is definitely gonna dry out again and it will definitely act up and we'll be off to the races again," Chief Mountain Hotshots Superintendent Lyle St. Goddard said.

St. Goddard has fought fires for 35 years and took his leadership role with the Chief Mountain Hotshots in 1997.

The hotshots are experts and the average crew member has at least twelve seasons of experience.

"Our guys are so tight it's like, we know what to do, we know what everybody's thinking, and when it comes to a fire, we hit the ground running," Chief Mountain Hotshots Communications Officer Joshua Birdrattler said. 

The Chief Mountain Hotshots fight fires all over the world.

Last year during the 2016 season, they battled fires in New Mexico, Colorado, Tennessee, and more.

This year, they have fought 19 fires and every blaze has been inside Montana's borders.

Birdrattler explained that there's a lot of honor in the crew and they love representing their tribe everywhere they go.

Watching massive fires devastate their home region has been difficult this year but they perceive the mission of protecting their land as an honor.

"You can take this as a reward almost, but we're still out there to do our job," explained Birdrattler.

The crew will attend a briefing for the Strawberry Fire in Dupuyer early Saturday morning.

The crew's incident command post will be in Choteau but most members said they will commute from their homes on the Blackfeet Reservation.

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