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Five firefighters injured in Garfield County wildfire

Posted at 10:24 AM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 19:48:04-04

MILES CITY - Five firefighters battling the Devils Creek Fire in Garfield County were injured Thursday.

The firefighters were working constructing a defensive fire line when a sudden windshift blew the wildfire over their position, the Burea of Land Management said in a press release.

The firefighters were evacuated and are currently undergoing further medical evaluation to determine the extent of their injuries, the press release states.

The crew of federal firefighters were members of federal crews called in to assist the Bureau of Land Management, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Garfield County and local resources already on scene.

Numerous wind shifts and rapid rates of spread resulted in erratic fire behavior as thunderstorms and associated cells were passing over the area when the incident occurred, the press release states.

The lightning-caused wildfire is burning in rough, steep terrain and is located near the Pine Grove School, about 36 miles northwest of Jordan, and east of the Devils Creek Road which accesses the south shore of Fort Peck Reservoir.

Personnel on-site continue to fight the blaze, which as of the most recent mapping, has burned roughly 375 acres of BLM and private land.

Approximate location of the Devils Creek Fire

The injuries follow a similar incident last week when a Red Lodge firefighter was injured while working on a wildfire near Joliet.

Dan Steffensen, a veteran volunteer who has fought wildfires across the western states, was injured on July 16 when he was overrun by flames during a sudden wind shift.

He is being treated at the University of Utah Burn Center in Salt Lake City.