South Fork Loop trail

Big Sky crews pull fire hose toward the South Fork Loop fire, which started after a tree burst into flames near a trail around Big Sky on June 17. (Dustin Tetrault/Big Sky Fire Department)

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Crews controlled a small fire that broke out in Big Sky on Thursday afternoon after a lone tree erupted in flames near the South Fork Loop trail.

Big Sky Fire Department responded at around 4 p.m. Thursday to a report of a single tree on fire and found a lone tree in flames about 150 yards off of the South Fork Loop Trail, according to Dustin Tetrault, Big Sky Fire Department deputy fire chief. Crews immediately requested mutual aid for a wildland fire.

Crews pulled fire hose from some engines and pumped water up into the tree, Tetrault said. They soon discovered that embers from the 1 acre fire were starting other spot fires in trees nearby.

“When it’s up in a tree, that’s hard,” Tetrault said. “You can’t really do much.”

Resources from various agencies worked to put out the fire until it was officially controlled at 6 p.m., according to a news release from the Big Sky Fire Department.

Firefighters from Big Sky, Yellowstone Club Fire and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the incident along with deputies with the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office. No evacuations were ordered, but parts of Aspen Leaf Drive and Grey Drake Road were closed during the response.

The fire was likely human-caused, but an official cause is under investigation, Tetrault said. Forest Service crews assumed command of the fire and are staying in the area to make sure there aren’t any other hot spots.

The Big Sky Fire Department reminded the public in a news release that the amount of moisture in trees is at August levels, even though grasses may seem green. An extended drought is drying fuels and establishing an early fire season, according to the department.

“We have to be diligent to minimize unnecessary ignitions this year because this is just a sneak peak into how volatile of a fire season this could be for us,” officials wrote.

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Liz Weber can be reached at or 582-2633.

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