Horseshoe Fire Update 9/13/18 9:30 AM

Gallatin County Emergency Management

Light precipitation occurred over the fire yesterday afternoon and into the evening. This weather was helpful in minimizing interior fire activity and allowing firefighters to work on areas holding heat. Firefighting resources will build and improve fire line; work on hot spots; mop-up; and patrol around structures.

As firefighters and law enforcement assessed the Horseshoe fire on Wednesday the situation emerged as a mixed blessing.  The Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s (DNRC) County Assist Team and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office have identified approximately ten structures that burned during the initial night of the fire. At this time the types of buildings have not been determined, but the loss of property will affect the community members regardless. However, the story of the fire is also a story of success.

In the chaotic first hours the fire burned around and among approximately 40 structures. The efforts of homeowners, local volunteer firefighters, and the DNRC paid off, as many of the yards of homes and cabins are islands of green in a sea of black. Local fire engines arrived, were soon joined by a DNRC helicopter, and firefighters began to assess priorities for the fire. Most importantly, the firefighters fulfilled their most critical mission; no residents, firefighters, or members of the public were hurt. The fire was well established when firefighters arrived on the scene late on Monday afternoon. Through quick communication and reliance on the Incident Command System the diverse firefighting resources converged on the scene and made a plan – stay safe, keep the public safe, and try to keep the fire away from homes and structures while watching each other’s’ backs.

Monday night fire behavior was extreme, with flame lengths reaching 50 feet as the juniper torched off the slopes of the Horseshoe Hills. Firefighters worked throughout the night, directing traffic, creating defensible space around homes and buildings, and generally bringing order to a chaotic scene. As the sun rose on the Horseshoe Fire on Tuesday morning the news was mixed. Some families and landowners would lose a great deal while others were spared. But the most extraordinary story may be the success of training, organization, and an unrelenting focus on the safety of firefighters and public. Combined with a great deal of luck and favorable weather the Horseshoe Fire will be contained and those people who lost property and homes in the fire can work to rebuild their lives

SIZE:   1525 acres
CAUSE:   Under Investigation
FIRE LOCATION:   20 miles N of Logan, Gallatin County
PROTECTION:   Gallatin County
OWNERSHIP:   Private

3 Hand Crews (20 people/crew)
14 Engines
3 Helicopters
4 Smoke jumpers
7 Heavy Equipment
(3 skidgens, 1 dozers, 3 water tender)

EVACUATIONS:  Currently there are no evacuations or closures in place.