Update 9:15 p.m.
Residents near Longhorn subdivision suffered no major damage to their properties but nonetheless said they were concerned.
"Police officers just came up and told me it was raging out of control, and I had to evacuate. I started the truck. It’s still running; I was going to evacuate but I thought no, this is what I do I’m the first line of defense I’m going to keep things wet," said Longhorn resident Gordan Ewell on Tuesday.
"I'm going to keep stuff as wet as I can. Maybe it won’t help stop the fire but any of the ash raining down, maybe it’ll prevent other fires from starting and spreading," Ewell added.
"It’s kind of scary, especially with the wind always blowing this way. We have a lot of open fields, grass, range land. This isn’t the first fire that’s started off (Highway) 87," said Becky Bryn, whose parents live on Longhorn Way.
"We appreciate all the efforts from the fire departments, including volunteers, sheriff’s department, they’ve all been great," she added.
The fire was reported east of Highway 87 around 4:45 p.m. Responders initially issued an evacuation order for the Longhorn subdivision but rescinded it after the fire stopped spreading.
- reported by Phil Van Pelt
Update 7:30 p.m.
Progress on the Water Tower fire has stopped north of Billings, and authorities have lifted an evacuation order for affected neighborhoods, according to the Billings Fire Department.
Firefighters estimated the fire burned 147 acres east of Highway 87.
The fire department did not report any structures burned, although about 200 were threatened.
8/15/23 7:25 p.m. UPDATE: Evacuation order for impacted subdivisions has been lifted. Progress/spreading of fire has stopped. Latest estimate: 147 acres burned. Thank you to local, county, state & federal resources for assistance. https://t.co/xfu6JEhdwH— Billings Fire Department (@BillingsFire) August 16, 2023
Update 6:45 p.m.
The fire, known as the Water Tower fire, is estimated to be around 100 acres and is 0 percent contained, according to the Yellowstone County Department of Disaster and Emergency Services.
Roughly 200 structures are threatened, according to the agency, but none have been reported starting on fire.
Responders anticipate that fire crews will remain on scene overnight, with mop-up efforts continuing over the next few days.
Responders urge drones to stay away from the area to avoid impeding firefighting efforts.
Update 6:30 p.m.
Highway 87 is open, but traffic is slow moving, according to Billings firefighters.
The Independent School is open and accepting impacted sub divisions until the situation is under control.
K.C. Williams, Yellowstone County Department of Emergency Services manager, said evacuations are not mandatory, but responders are urging residents in the Longhorn subdivision to leave.
HWY 87 is open to traffic but slow moving. Lockwood, Shepherd, Blue Creek & Laurel are assisting. Independent School is open to impacted sub divisions until situation is under control. https://t.co/ydGtZOZcQG— Billings Fire Department (@BillingsFire) August 16, 2023
(first report) A grassfire reported north of Billings has prompted an evacuation order for the Longhorn subdivision east of Highway 87 North.
Billings police said on social media that no dedicated evacuation location has been established and asked residents to gather essential belongings and leave the area.
The call came to Billings firefighters around 4:45 p.m. of a fire in the area of Pine Ridge Lane. Early estimates indicate it's about 10 acres in size.
Billings police, Yellowstone County sheriff's deputies, Billings firefighters and Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation firefighters are all responding. The Blue Creek Volunteer Fire Department and Lockwood firefighters also responded, along with Laurel and Shepherd.
Billings firefighters said on social media that several structures are threatened and air craft are coming to help fight the fire. They also urged the public to stay clear of the area to not hamper rescue efforts.
1135 Longhorn Way
BFD is battling a grass fire an est. 10 acres along Hwy 87 near Hawthorne Sub.Div. Several structures are threatened & evacuations in order. Please stay away from area. Air craft is inbound to assist extinguish flames.— Billings Fire Department (@BillingsFire) August 15, 2023
This is a developing story. Check back for details.
Billings fire crews
call at Independence and Pine Ridge intersection