Firefighters responding to a blaze in Gates of the Mountains Wilderness | State and Region

Nolan Lister

The U.S. Forest Service and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation responded Saturday afternoon to a fire in the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness.

As of 6:50 p.m., the Moors Mountain fire was reported at 115 acres and involved heavy timber, according to Forest officials said around 6:40 p.m. paratroopers were responding. They also said a long-term strategy to fight the fire will be developed on Sunday morning. The cause of the fire has not been listed.

The Moors Mountain Fire is seen from Carroll College on Saturday. USFS and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation responded.

Photo courtesy of USFS

The York Volunteer Fire Department was initially dispatched around 3.50pm after multiple callers reported seeing a plume of smoke around the Hunters Gulch trailhead near Nelson, southeast of the fire.

The dispatcher then advised at 3:58 p.m. that a DNRC air attack was on the way.

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West Valley Volunteer Fire was also notified, but at 4:30 p.m. USFS said it had primary jurisdiction and would marshal resources to respond.

York’s commander reported that he had sent the fire to burn on “the highest peak in this desert”.

USFS Helena District Ranger Kathy Bushnell said in a phone interview around 5 p.m. that about 20 acres were actively burning in the wild.

“We use airplanes to get an accurate size of the fire,” Bushnell said, to determine the size of the ground response.

The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office said no residences in that area were at risk.

Writer Phil Drake contributed to this story.

Editor’s Note — This story has been updated to correct information on the estimated size of the fire.