Residents of Denton have been evacuated and a highway has been closed due to a wildfire in the area Wednesday, according to the Fergus County Sheriff’s Office.
“PLEASE STAY OUT OF THE DENTON AREA!!! Highways are closed and evacuations have already taken place. Thank you for your cooperation!” FCSO posted on Facebook around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The closed road is Montana Highway 81 between Denton and the intersection with MT Highway 80, per the Montana Department of Transportation’s website.
According to the Fergus County Disaster and Emergency Services, the fire was first reported around 11:15 p.m. Tuesday along Highway 80 near Stanford.
Strong winds pushed the fire east across the highway toward Denton, located just less than 40 miles northeast of Lewistown.
Major brush fire ongoing in Denton, MT. Less than a half mile out of town. No immediate threat to the community at the moment. Route 81 heading towards Coffee Creek is closed as the fire has jumped the highway. #MTwx pic.twitter.com/CTEKqs8oIu
— Erik Johnson (@erik_wx) December 1, 2021
(Editor's note: The above Twitter video was posted prior to evacuation orders being announced for Denton.)
Wind gusts of 50-70 mph were forecasted on the plains in northcentral Montana Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Agencies from neighboring counties are providing aid to Fergus County crews in fighting the fire, Fergus DES said in a social media post.
Downed power lines are believed to be the cause of the fire, Fergus DES said, but an official conclusion has yet to be reached.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: Denton, Montana evacuated as fire threatens Fergus County town