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5 firefighters injured while fighting eastern Montana fire

by Associated Press
| July 23, 2021 9:00 AM

HELENA (AP) — Five firefighters were injured when a thunderstorm and swirling winds blew a lightning-caused fire back on them in central Montana, the Bureau of Land Management said Friday.

The federal firefighters had joined other crews working on the 375-acre Devil's Creek fire burning in rough, steep terrain about 36 miles (58 kilometers) northwest of the town of Jordan in Garfield County.

The injured firefighters were building a defensive fire line at about 5 p.m. Thursday when the weather shifted, said BLM spokesperson Mark Jacobsen.

"Numerous wind shifts and rapid rates of speed resulted in erratic fire behavior as thunderstorms and associated cells were passing over the area when the incident occurred," Jacobsen said in a statement.

Other firefighters in the area were able to call for help, Jacobsen said.

The BLM did not release the extent of the firefighters' injuries or say where they were being treated.