During a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, officials said that the wildfire that tore through the Gibson Flats area overnight into the morning destroyed 11 homes, and "multiple" vehicles and garages.
Great Falls Fire Rescue Chief Jeremy Jones added that 11 garages, seven outbuildings, and numerous cars were also lost.
The fire was reported around 2:45 a.m. and started in a field; the cause of the fire is still being investigated. One chicken died in the fire, but there have been no other deaths or injuries.
When residents would be able to go back to their homes is still not clear.
Jones said, "It's going to be a while yet. We are setting up for people to get the resources they want with the Red Cross. Until the whole scene is cold, we're not worried about anything going again, it's just going to depend on the weather when that is,” Jones said.
He added that because the natural gas to the homes had to be shut off and because power was knocked out, both would also have to be restored before residents could go back.
Cascade County Sheriff Jesse Slaughter encouraged people to report downed power lines: “It’s okay to call 911. Don’t assume that we know that power line is down. As things change, we may have missed it and it’s a safety concern for everyone that’s out there working, too.”
If you were affected by the fire and need assistance, call the American Red Cross at 1-800-272-6668.
Great Falls Fire Rescue said that the fire burned an estimated 120 acres.
We will update you as we get more information.
Responding agencies include (will update if we get more info)
- Vaughn Fire
- Sand Coulee Fire
- Gore Hill Fire
- Belt Rural Fire
- Black Eagle Fire
- Malmstrom AFB
- Montana Air National Guard
- Great Falls Fire Rescue
- Cascade County Sheriff's Office
- Great Falls Police Department
- Northwestern Energy
- Salvation Army (Sally One)