GREAT FALLS — The Taylor Fire that sparked on Sunday (August 1) between Denton and Winifred in Fergus County has now burned an estimated 20,622 acres, with no containment as of Monday afternoon. At this point, there are no reports of injuries or damaged structures, and no word on the suspected cause.
Ryan Peterson, the director of Disaster & Emergency Services for Fergus County, said in a news release, “Bear Springs Road has been closed from the Taylor residence to Judith River, and Everson Road is closed where it intersects with Sunnyside Road,” he said. “We advise the public to stay out of the area.”
The Fergus County Sheriff's Office said in Sunday that people should avoid the area if possible, and that that they will notify residents if evacuations are ordered.
Clive Rooney, DNRC Northeastern Land Office Area Manager, said, “Given the Taylor Fire’s size, fuel and topography, it is anticipated that fire suppression efforts will continue through the week."
The Montana Mutual Aid Network has been activated and volunteer fire departments from several neighboring counties have responded. The Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (DNRC), federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Fergus County resources are also working on the Taylor Fire.
DNRC is coordinating with the Fergus County DES and numerous volunteer fire departments. DNRC’s Northeastern Land Office has prioritized response efforts and suppression resources to the fire, including an incident commander, air resources, and multiple fire engines. The state agency has also ordered additional resources and an Incident Management Team. However, given heightened fire activity across the state and geographic area, resource availability is limited.
Firefighters continue to prioritize suppressing the fire as quickly as possible while protecting values at risk such as infrastructure, private property, and natural resources. According to , roads have been closed in the area and the public is asked to avoid the area as much as possible to allow fire response efforts to travel unheeded into the area.
“The 2021 fire season is one of the hottest and driest seasons we have seen in recent years,” Rooney added. “Currently, we are facing critical fire conditions and intense competition for resources. We are coordinating and sharing resources with our interagency partners and remain grateful for our local and volunteer fire departments who routinely answer the call to protect our communities and homes.”