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Wildfires reaching historic proportions

Scattered flames mark the eastern boundary of the Skyland Fire near the town of Heart Butte on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation on Aug 1 just after midnight. David Erickson / Whitefish Pilot

Montana, USA

Depending upon who's talking, this year's fire season has already passed by the 2000 and 2003 seasons as the WORST SINCE 1910. That supposition is based on where the state is now with maybe one more month of fires ahead before a good rain or snow finally extinguishes the fires for good. To make matters worse, seven new lightning-caused fires were detected Tuesday in the Swan Lake area, despite a light rain. In the worst case scenario posed by some firefighters, the raging Chippy Creek Fire, which exploded across 29,000 acres on a windy Saturday and now may be the largest wildfire in Montana, could burn all the way to the Brush Creek Fire west of Whitefish -- crossing U.S. Highway 2 at Marion and covering about 50 miles. Now burning about 26 miles southwest of Kalispell, predominant winds could push the fire into thousands of acres of thick dry timber north and east. The fire was reportedly 5 percent contained but was threatening 50 homes near Hubbart Reservoir. About 1,500 homes are threatened by the Jocko Lakes Fire, which has burned 15,000 acres and cost nearly $1 million to fight so far
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