Fire crews battle three blazes on the Crow Indian Reservation – Sheridan Media

Photo courtesy: Garret Costa

At 12:15 p.m. Wednesday July 14, an aerial post-lightning reconnaissance found the Blacktail Creek lightning fire overlooking Bighorn Lake and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, just north of Blacktail Creek at the north end of Bighorn Bull Elk Ridge.

A full load of smokejumpers parachuted into this remote but visible blaze soon after, more than four hours’ drive from Crow Agency.

High on the canyon wall in tribal lands, the fire is in a spectacular natural setting.

It only threatens forest and cultural areas that occasionally host natural fires.

On Wednesday, BIA Billings and USFS Missoula helitack and their helicopters calmed the edges of the 50-acre blaze with bucket drops.

Flames on the windless day were 1 to 3 feet long with occasional trees set alight.

A top crew and engines are ordered.

The goal is to prevent the fire from spreading east across the highlands or south into the thick forest above Garvin Basin.

The 965-acre South Tullock Creek Fire 16 miles northeast of Crow Agency winds down Thursday July 15 as engines clean and patrol its edges.

Until midnight Wednesday morning, BIA firefighters “burned” the grass between the jagged edges of the fire and its grader-built fire line.

They created 6 foot flames in sagebrush and grass. Helicopter scoop works slowed further growth to just 3 acres.

The fire has three engines, one crew and water tenders affected today and is 20% contained.

A crew and engine remain on the East Tullock Creek fire.

The National Weather Service predicts a chance of lightning today and Friday, then four days of over 100 degrees at Crow Agency from Saturday through Tuesday, then high temperatures in the 90s.

Possible record high temperatures and low humidity remain likely July 21-27.

Take care of yourself and your family: stay hydrated and cool, stay in the shade at midday, and don’t let anyone fool around with the fire.

Nohemi M. Moore