5 firefighters injured in Montana blaze in stable condition


In this photo provided by the Bureau of Land Management, a helicopter works above the Devil’s Creek Fire in central Montana on Thursday, July 22, 2021. Five firefighters were injured when a thunderstorm and swirling winds in central Montana blew a lightning-caused wildfire back on them, federal officials said Friday, July 23, 2021. (Mark Jacobsen/Bureau of Land Management via AP)

JORDAN, Montana (AP) — Five federal firefighters remained hospitalized Sunday in stable condition after sustaining burn injuries when swirling winds blew a lightning-caused wildfire back on them in eastern Montana on Thursday.

The five were building a defensive line at the Devil’s Creek Fire in Garfield County when the weather shifted, said Bureau of Land Management spokesman Mark Jacobsen.

Two USDA Forest Service firefighters who are engine crew members based at the Quemado Ranger District at New Mexico’s Gila National Forest were in stable condition and recovering at an undisclosed location, said Forest Service spokeswoman Punky Moore.

Three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crew members also were in stable condition and recovering at an undisclosed burn center, said Forest Service spokeswoman Kari Cobb. The three USFS employees are based at the Eastern North Dakota Wetland Management District Complex, Cobb said.

Neither Cobb nor Moore released any addition details.

Fire crews hoped to keep the wildfire, which had grown to 3,500 acres Sunday, from approaching the nearby Fort Peck Reservoir on the Missouri River, Jacobsen said.

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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