- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - A wildfire burning on national forest land in southwestern Montana has grown to 1.5 square miles, mostly due to a burnout intended to prevent the fire from spreading toward the community of Darby.

Residents in 200 homes remained on notice Thursday to prepare for possible evacuation.

The lightning-caused Observation fire began at about noon on June 24 and is burning in steep, dangerous terrain about 10 miles south of Hamilton. KECI-TV reports winds were gusting 15 to 20 mph on Thursday and thunderstorms were likely.

Fire information officer Kimberly Nelson says the northwestern part of the fire is burning into a wilderness area, where it is unsafe to put firefighters on the ground.

Nelson says there are 136 firefighters working the fire and six aircraft are available to dump water and retardant.



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