The Billings Outpost

Sarpy Creek fire shifts


Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Sarpy Creek fire 20 miles northeast of Crow Agency moved sharply and suddenly Saturday after a noon wind shift, but did not grow by more than a few acres. A heavy air tanker and “birddog” (lead plane) came from Billings. The retardant drop enabled engines to pinch off the fire as it picked up momentum and began to grow. A tribal dozer and grader helped to prepare direct firelines (dug on the fire’s edge) and indirect firelines (lines to catch the fire if it were to jump the direct line) around the 25 acre fire. Three engines and a hand crew are working today inside the fire edge to cool heavy burning material. Trees, wood and grass are historically dry.
In the East Pryor Creek drainage, two engines, a crew and a squad at the 10 acre Dry Head Creek fire are continuing mop up. That timber fire has not grown since Friday night. Crow’s other lightning fires are in patrol status, meaning that engines are checking on them throughout the day.
Two engines extinguished the 1 acre MP 515 fire at the Garryowen exit of Interstate 90 about 3:30 p.m. Saturday. That fire seems to have been caused by a car or truck. To prevent these fires, keep vehicles far away from grass!
Local fire conditions are severe enough that nearby agencies are keeping fully staffed. Engines assisting on the Crow reservation this month have come from near Bozeman, Missoula and Libby, as well as Idaho, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Mexico.
We have a 30% chance of mixed wet and dry thunderstorms through Tuesday night, with high temperatures in the 90’s. Thursday, Friday and Saturday this coming week should all be sunny and reach 98 degrees or more in Crow, according to the National Weather Service.
Fire restrictions on the Crow Reservation include a prohibition on most open fires except for cultural uses, including no smoking in burnable areas, no campfires, and no fireworks.

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