Bridger Foothills fire

A helicopter drops a buckets of water on the fire burning on the east side of the Bridger Mountains at around noon on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.

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Fire officials amended their estimate of the size of the Bridger Foothills fire on Sunday to about 7,000 acres.

The updated number comes from an infrared flight that was flown overnight to get a more accurate sense of the perimeter, according to the fire information site InciWeb.

The fire northeast of Bozeman exploded Saturday afternoon, prompting evacuations for residents of Bridger Canyon, Jackson Creek and Kelly Canyon. Residents in the Skunk Creek area of the Bangtails were warned, and officials planned to warn Brackett Creek residents on Sunday.

Some residents were allowed to go back to their homes Sunday morning, but they were told to leave by 11 a.m. because the evacuations are still in effect.

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office was giving evacuation warnings to residents of the Moffit Gulch area.

Structures have burned, but fire officials have yet to say how many.

The fire has not reached Bridger Bowl, according to the sheriff's office.

All roads and trails in the Bridger and Bangtail mountains are now closed. 

Smoke settled in over Bozeman on Sunday. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality listed the town's air quality as "unhealthy for sensitive groups." That means people with respiratory conditions like asthma should limit prolonged exertion outdoors.

A Type 1 Incident Management Team was scheduled to arrive Sunday and Monday, according to InciWeb.

Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines plans to meet with fire officials Sunday afternoon.  

Local officials planned a virtual public meeting for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. It will be livestreamed on the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office Facebook page.

Temperatures in the 80s and high relative humidity were forecast for Sunday. But a cold front is coming.

High temperatures Monday and Tuesday are forecasted to be in the 50s, with precipitation predicted.

This story will be updated.

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Michael Wright can be reached at or at 582-2638.