Copper King Fire Expands, Cost Jumps to Over $15 Million
The Copper King fire burning near Thompson Falls grew by another 3,000 acres or so over the weekend as the weather turned in the fire’s favor.
"It had a lot of wind on it and temperatures have been going up pretty much the last two days and its going to continue throughout the week. Fire Information Officer Mike Cole said. "There was still a cloud of smoke going up this weekend and fortunately a lot of it is from the burnout operation from different areas of the fire so that's the good news on the fire-line here and they're up to about 24,778 acres."
There has been no change in evacuation status for the 45 homes under evacuation notice or the 135 homes in pre-evacuation notice. Cole says helicopters have been using ping pong ball-sized incendiary devices daily because the terrain is “steeper than a cow’s face” and traditional burnout operations would be too dangerous.
"The biggest area of concern we have is the southeast side of the fire up in the area near the Weeksville Creek area, that's northwest of Plains," Cole said. "That area is real visible from the valley when its cooking up there. That's the area we're most concerned about, where it has the possibility to either move down towards the valley or towards the east."
The Copper King fire seems to be going for gold. It is now the largest fire in Montana and, at over 15 million dollars, the most expensive fire in the state this year.