HomeNewsCommentariesDisplay

Malmstrom Airmen respond to grass fire near LF, MAF

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana, Feb. 1, 2020.

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana, Feb. 1, 2020. (Courtesy photo)

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana, Feb. 1, 2020.

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana, Feb. 1, 2020. (Courtesy photo)

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana, Feb. 1, 2020.

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana, Feb. 1, 2020. (Courtesy photo)

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana, Feb. 1, 2020.

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana, Feb. 1, 2020. (Courtesy photo)

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana, Feb. 1, 2020.

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana, Feb. 1, 2020. (Courtesy photo)

MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Malmstrom Air Force Base fire department responded off base to a grass fire headed toward a launch facility and missile alert facility on Feb. 1, 2020.

The fire department was dispatched at the request of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation with a volunteer fire department to support a fast-moving grass fire north of Geyser, Montana.

MAFB responded with Brush 20, a lifted fire engine made to protect structures in off-road conditions; a Water Tender-12, which carries up to 4K gallons of water; and a four-wheel-drive pickup used as a safety officer and over watch.

Upon arrival to Geyser, located 45 minutes south-east of Malmstrom, crews ran into brown-out conditions along the road due to a dust storm formed from 60 mph winds with gusts exceeding 80 mph.

MAFB Emergency Communication Center received news that a LF was in the path of a fast-moving fire.

The on duty assistant fire chief recalled off-duty military firefighters to deploy, as it became clear that U.S. Air Force resources were at risk.

The initial wave of MAFB firefighters arrived at the makeshift staging area north of Geyser, meeting with local volunteer firefighter leadership who tasked MAFB to control the areas, north-east section – which included the LF at risk.

MAFB crews established a safety zone around the LF and coordinated response plans with the Security Forces patrol in the area.

It was decided that the main road between the LF and Geyser would be used as a benchmark for further preparations at the MAF.

Additional firefighters arrived with a small firefighting tank in the back of a four-wheel-drive pickup, joining crews who were already working the fire threatening ranch structures.

Wind conditions were changing rapidly, resulting in a change in the direction of the fire from the MAF to the LF.

 As crews stabilized the fire line near the ranch, the fire was creasing on the hilltops making a push toward the main road.

MAFB and volunteer fire department crews repositioned as fire crews on the other front started to focus on an area near the road in an attempt to cut it off.

The fast-moving fire was reported to be traveling as a half-mile-wide, moving wall of fire going over 30 mph.

The fire crossed the road to a nearby grove of trees when the wind shifted in to the fire. This resulted in the six firefighting agencies to work to rapidly extinguish the fire. MAFB crews continued to help clear spot fires and hot spots to ensure the LF and MAF were safe.

In the 90 minutes that the fire was active, it covered over six miles in length and a half-mile in width, burning a total of 4K acres. It traveled over rough terrain and was stopped by crews within a half-mile from the LF and six miles from the MAF.

The six agencies who responded included MAFB and a small wildland task force of five crews made up of twelve firefighters.

No major structures were lost, though some outlined sheds were damaged on a ranch.

The source of the fire was believed to be a power line that fell due to the extreme high winds, which encouraged the rapid growth of the fire.

Malmstrom Fire Department would like to thank the countless volunteer firefighters who contributed to stop the fire and the other wind-related emergencies occurring in the region.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.