At 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, July 14, a post-lightning aerial reconnaissance discovered the Blacktail Creek lightning fire overlooking Bighorn Lake and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, just north of Blacktail Creek at the north end of Big Bull Elk Ridge.
A full load of smokejumpers was dropped shortly thereafter on this distant but visible blaze, more than four hours away from the Crow agency.
High on the canyon wall in tribal lands, the fire takes place in a spectacular natural setting.
It only threatens forest and cultural areas that harbor occasional natural fires.
On Wednesday, BIA Billings and USFS Missoula helitack and their helicopters calmed the edges of the 50-acre blaze with bucket drops.
The flames on the windless day were 1 to 3 feet long with trees burning occasionally.
A crew and advanced engines are ordered.
The aim is to prevent the fire from spreading east to the highlands or south into a thick forest above the Garvin Basin.
The 965-acre fire in South Tullock Creek 16 miles northeast of the Crow agency ended activity Thursday, July 15 as engines clear and patrol its edges.
Wednesday morning until midnight, BIA firefighters “burned” the grass between the jagged edges of the fire and its grader-built fire line.
They created 6 foot flames in sagebrush and grass. Helicopter bucket work slowed other growth to just 3 acres.
The blaze has three engines, crew and water supplies affected today and is 20% contained.
A crew and engine remain on the East Tullock Creek fire.
The National Weather Service predicts a risk of lightning strikes today and Friday, then four days above 100 degrees at Crow Agency from Saturday to Tuesday, then high temperatures of the 90s.
Possible record temperatures and low humidity remain likely from July 21 to 27.
Please take care of yourself and your family: stay hydrated and cool, stay in the shade at midday, and don’t let anyone fool with the fire.