Press Release – Grass Fire: Deadman Gulch

April 19, 2024
News release prepared by:
Battalion Chief Michael Bowman

At approximately 1:29 pm on April 19, 2024, the Missoula County 9-1-1 Center dispatched Missoula Rural Fire District (MRFD) to the area of Deadman Gulch and Cochise Drive south of Missoula for an out-of-control fire on a hillside. A large column of smoke was visible from Missoula as units were responding.

The initial arriving MRFD fire unit reported approximately one acre burning in grass on a steep slope. This unit controlled the fire that was encroaching on a residence immediately adjacent to the fire. Subsequent arriving units were assigned to the East and South sides of the fire to stop further progression. Fire crews controlled and contained the fire to 1.5 acres. Fire crews were on the scene for a little over three hours to fully extinguish this fire.

MRFD responded with three engines, one water tender and one command unit. The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) assisted with two engines. There were no injuries reported, and no structures of any kind were involved. MRFD would like to thank the Missoula County Sheriffs Office and Florence Volunteer Fire Department for assistance at the scene and emergency coverage to the Lolo area while units were on this incident.

This fire was a permitted burn that quickly became out of control due to windy conditions. MRFD urges people that wish to activate a burn permit to check the weather forecast prior to lighting the burn. It was a nice sunny day, but the weather forecast called for wind at 10-14 mph, with 25 mph gusts. These types of wind conditions pose a considerable risk to a fire burning out of control. The property involved in the fire today was mitigated by MRFD’s fuels reduction team last summer. The result of this project’s work prevented this fire from becoming a large, more dangerous incident. If you have a property in the wildland urban interface area and would like more information on fuel mitigation work around your home, please contact MRFD.


For additional information on this incident or fire safety, please contact MRFD at 406-549-6172.