Clarkston Fire

A Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation helicopter drops water on a fire Tuesday afternoon in Clarkston.

A wildfire started by a burning vehicle charred a swath of land west of Three Forks on Wednesday afternoon. 

The fire started near Interstate 90 mile marker 264 and moved southeast through the hills. A size estimate was not immediately available. 

Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Barb Armstrong said the fire was caused by a car’s broken gas line.

Fire crews from the western part of the Gallatin Valley and Jefferson County responded to the blaze. Two helicopters have also been called.

Several other fire starts have kept firefighters busy on Wednesday. A grain field fire near Amsterdam was quickly controlled, and another fire was reported off Frontage Road west of Manhattan.


Firefighters knocked down a 15-acre fire on a hillside in the rural area of Clarkston, north of Three Forks, on Tuesday afternoon.

The fire consumed grass and brush off a dirt road near the intersection of Crystal Mountain Road and Sundown Valley Road. No cause of the fire was determined before deadline.

By 3:30 p.m., the fire was under control and firefighters were assessing the burned ground. A Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation helicopter picked up water from the nearby Missouri River and dropped it on hot spots.

Along with DNRC, the Three Forks Fire Department, Clarkston Fire Service Area No. 6, Willow Creek Rural Fire Department and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the incident, said Patrick Lonergan, the county’s emergency services director.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for Gallatin County for Wednesday from noon to midnight. The notice warns of high temperatures, low humidities and gusty winds, a combination that could create erratic fire behavior.


A new fire has been discovered in the northeastern portion of Yellowstone National Park. 

The Wahb fire is estimated to be a half-acre in size in a remote area near Cache Creek, according to a news release from the park.

The fire was discovered Sunday by a backcountry ranger on patrol. It is believed to have been caused by lightning. There are no trail or campsite closures in the area.

A National Park Service photo shows smoke coming off a hillside with a mix of conifer trees and open areas.

Park officials are monitoring the blaze, the release said. If it starts burning more actively, smoke may be visible from the Lamar Valley.

The Wahb is the ninth fire in Yellowstone so far this year. Five are no longer burning. Three others besides the Wahb are still active — the Pollux, Wyodaho and Brimstone fires. 

The largest is the Brimstone, which has burned about 80 acres on the eastern shore of Yellowstone Lake.