Smouldering Coal Seam Possible Cause of Winter Wildland Fire

January 17, 2008

A coal seam in Montana still smouldering from a 1984 wildfire was identified as a possible cause of the 600-acre fire late last week near the Musselshell-Yellowstone county line.

The Marsh Assist fire was a rare winter event for Musselshell County firefighters and the state and federal agencies that helped fight it.

Jason Caffey is a fire investigator for the federal Bureau of Land Management. He says the fire was not caused by people, and a hot coal seam burning to the surface is the prime suspect.

Coal seams in the Bull Mountains may have been ignited by the Hawk Creek fire of 1984. It was one of the largest and most destructive wildfires in state history, burning through 173,000 acres and destroying 44 homes.


Information from: Billings Gazette,

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