Wildfire burns into central Montana town, destroys houses

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A late-season wildfire pushed by strong winds ripped through a tiny central Montana farming town overnight, burning several homes and grain elevators that had stood for more than a century, authorities said.

Officials were assessing the damage in Denton on Thursday morning while crews continued to fight the fire.

About 300 residents of the town were evacuated early Wednesday afternoon when a fire that had started several miles away the night before pushed across the drought-stricken agricultural land.

“Unfortunately we lost numerous houses on the Southside of town, but thankfully no one was hurt!” the Fergus County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook Wednesday night.

Several other fires burned in Montana on Wednesday as gusty winds fanned the flames. A fire south of the city of Great Falls burned 11 homes and seven garages along with sheds and vehicles. About 65 people were evacuated, Cascade County officials said.

There were two grass fires near Browning on Wednesday where there were also power outages because the wind was knocking trees into power lines, officials said.