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A passing train sparked four small grass fires between Bozeman and Belgrade on Wednesday afternoon, forcing authorities to temporarily block traffic along a section of Frontage Road.

Roth Lindroth, Central Valley Fire District chief, said crews controlled the fires between Interstate 90 and Frontage Road within an hour.

The first fire was reported at around 4:20 p.m. near the intersection of Jackrabbit Lane and West Main Street in Belgrade, said Roth Lindroth, Central Valley Fire District chief. The other three fires were first reported about 15 minutes later.

Two of them burned between the I-90 and the railroad tracks between Bozeman and Belgrade. The other one burned between the railroad tracks and Frontage Road, Lindroth said.

Firefighters could be seen working around a patch of charred grass along I-90 near Springhill Road late Wednesday afternoon. Firefighters were mopping up by 5:15 p.m., Lindroth said.

Police officers blocked off a section of Frontage Road between Springhill Road and Nelson Road to traffic at that time. Law enforcement also reduced traffic along I-90 to one lane for westbound travel in the area between 19th Avenue and Nelson Road, roughly, Lindroth said.

Central Valley Fire deployed tenders, a brush truck and an engine to the fires. Bozeman Fire sent a brush truck and other support, he said.

Wednesday wasn't the first time a train sparked a grass fire along the railroad tracks between Belgrade and Bozeman. A fire broke out along the same stretch north of Bozeman on May 25 before crews from multiple departments knocked it down.

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Helena Dore can be reached at or at 582-2628.

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