North Hills Fire takes almost 5,000 acres
While the fire continued to burn within its perimeter, the “North Hills” fire north of Helena, Montana, was mostly out by July 31, said a local ranch manager.
The fire, which took in 4,771 acres according to Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation, mostly burned rough forest land not suitable for grazing. No people, structures or livestock are known to have been lost in the fire, which was officially 15 perent contained on July 31. The cause of the fire is unknown.
Ross Morgan said about 1,000 acres of private rangeland belonging the Campbell Ranch was burned. Morgan, the ranch manager, said that outfit relies very little on government-administered grazing, and that the relatively small amount of the Campbell Ranch’s BLM land that burned is not a significant source of grazing for the livestock.
Fortunately, he had moved cattle off the private land that burned a couple of days before the fire hit, so the cattle were not in harm’s way.
“What we lost of value was water pipe on the ground and a little fence,” said Morgan. He said that much of the fence that the fire traveled through will still be useable. “A fire went through there about 30 years ago and burned a lot of the timber, so there wasn’t a lot of fuel to make the fire burn terribly hot right there,” he said.
The only other ranch affected by the fire was the Sieben Ranch, he said, which did lose forage in pasture they were planning to turn cattle into soon, as well as some fence, Morgan said.