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Update: Lame Deer residents ordered to evacuate for Richard Spring fire

Fire 3.5 miles from town
Posted at 11:23 AM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 11:29:03-04

UPDATE 11 p.m.

The Richardson Spring fire has jumped the Tongue River and was drifting north Tuesday night, but winds are dying down entering the late evening hours.

Authorities are warning people to stay away from downed power lines across Rosebud County, many of which could be hot.

Outages could continue for a few days in Lame Deer and Ashland.

Type II fire command is expected to take over command of the fire, which is now estimated at around 165,000 acres, the largest in the state.

UPDATE 9:30 p.m.

The Crow tribe has opened up its multi-purpose building to house evacuees from the Richardson Spring fire.

The Church of Christ in Colstrip has also opened up its facility for similar services.

UPDATE 6:50 p.m.

Residents in Lame Deer have been ordered to evacuate to the Busby school as the Richard Spring fire continues to push toward town, Northern Cheyenne Tribal President Donna Fisher said.

An emergency alert siren began sounding at 6:45 p.m. in Lame Deer, urging the town's roughly 2,000 residents to get out.

Fisher said at a community meeting that the fire was about three-and-a-half miles from town, and an anticipated wind shift Tuesday evening could push it closer.

Fisher said she fears a second fire burning in the area could join the Richard Spring and pose a greater threat.

Evacuees can also go to the Broadus Elementary School at 518 Trautman Ave. in Broadus.

The Richard Spring fire has an Inciweb page for all official updates.

UPDATE 6:20 p.m.

Dry fuel and extremely high winds pushed flames and forced hundreds to evacuate on the Northern Cheyenne reservation near Ashland Tuesday.

The Richard Spring fire has jumped to at least 150,000 acres as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, and fire officials say those numbers are growing every couple minutes.

Residents in two subdivisions, as well as homes along the Tongue River, are loading up onto buses and into vehicles to evacuate the area.

The fire that sparked three days ago has raged all day and impacted 200 to 300 Ashland residents, the town itself, and the Amish community just north of there.

Chris Pileski of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation says the fire is heading north and southeast but feels like it's moving in all directions as the winds whip through the region.

He says some structures have been destroyed, but so far no homes that they know of.

Q2 News has learned at least 200 to 300 people have evacuated today from the Yellow Hair and Walking subdivisions.

Among those evacuees: Northern Cheyenne Tribal President Donna Fisher and her family.

Fisher told Q2 she has settled her family into an emergency shelter at the Lame Deer Boys and Girls Club.

The shelter had around 50 displaced people as of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. A sudden power outage sent Red Cross representative scrambling to find a generator and considering moving the shelter to Hardin.

- Jeanelle Slade, Q2 News

UPDATE 3:35 p.m.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources is now estimating the Richard Spring fire has grown to at least 150,000 acres.

Chris Pileski, the area manager of the agency's eastern land office, called that number a conservative estimate and noted the size seems to be constantly changing.

Donna Fisher, president of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, said Tuesday afternoon she's heard estimates as high as 180,000 acres, though that number is not official.

UPDATE 1:35 p.m.

The Northern Cheyenne Disaster and Emergency Services said the Red Cross is scheduled to arrive at about 3 p.m. to help with emergency shelters.

The fire has jumped Kelly Creek, the agency said in a Facebook post, and winds are pushing flames to the east.

The post states:

Perineal Dialysis patients please go to the Charging Horse Casino
Red Cross ETA is 3:00 pm
Trasnsportation is set up at the Cheyenne Depot 2
Evacuation Shelter is at the Lame Deer Boys & Girls Club
If you have questions call the Incident Command at 406 477 6914


UPDATE 12:55 p.m.

The Montana Department of Transportation has closed Highway 212 between Crow Agency and Broadus due to the fire.

Motorists are advised to use an alternate route.

Update 11:40 a.m.

The Northern Cheyenne Disaster and Emergency Services has issued an evacuation warning for areas near Ashland.

According to a Facebook post, the areas include residents in the area of Ashland Divide, Rabbit Town, N Tongue River Road, St. Labre Campus & East Highway 212.

The post states:

We are now at Level 3 of evacuation.
Police Officers will be going door to door to notify home owners and residents.
This is not a mandatory evacuation but to keep yourself safe.
Please mindfully make your way to
Lame Deer Boys and Girls Club
We do not want anyway one in front of the fire .
There will be traffic control in route to Ashland.
Do not panic!!!
If you need help or a ride please call 477 - 6914
There is structure protection enroute from NCVFD and NCHA to reservation Creek


First Report

COLSTRIP - The Richard Spring Fire south of Colstrip in Rosebud County was estimated at nearly 63,000 acres and again forced the closure of Highway 39 late Tuesday morning.

The Type 3 wildfire was first reported on Sunday afternoon on private land 10 miles south of Colstrip.

The fire has forced the closure of Highway 39 several times. The highway was briefly opened Tuesday morning to limited traffic before authorities announced it was closed again later in the morning.

The fire is now the largest active fire in the state and is nearing the size of the PF Fire in Big Horn County that burned 66,134 acres before it was fully contained.

There was no containment reported on the Richard Spring Fire as of Tuesday morning. There were 131 personnel working on the blaze.

The cause of the wildfire has not been determined.

RELATED: Wildfire in Rosebud County forces highway closure