Shedhorn fire on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021

An image of smoke from the Shedhorn fire burning in the Upper Taylor Fork drainage south of Big Sky.

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The Shedhorn fire south of Big Sky grew slightly overnight after a drone grounded aircraft fighting the fire for a second time.

The fire spread further on Tuesday night after bout of strong and gusty winds fanned it to 74 acres by Wednesday morning.

Once air resources were pulled from the fire on Tuesday following the drone sighting, ground crews had to take on a more indirect attack, according to Marna Daley, a spokesperson for the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

Forest Service officials were working to establish a closure for the upper portion of the Taylor Fork drainage on Wednesday. No structures were threatened at that time.

The closure will start at the junction of Taylor Fork Road No. 134 and Cache Creek Road No. 135. It will include the area and all trails leading into that area, agency officials wrote.

A portion of Shedhorn Creek that leads south to Tumbledown Creek will likely be included in the area closure, they wrote.

More resources were expected to arrive at the fire on Wednesday, and officials anticipated cooler temperatures and calm winds. Fire crews were planning to build a handline along the northeastern flank of the fire during the day.

The fire was first reported at 4 p.m. on Monday. It is torching timber and grass in the Custer Gallatin National Forest between Big Sky and West Yellowstone. Its cause is still under investigation.

The fire is burning along Tumbledown Creek in the Taylor Fork drainage. Portions of it are in the Taylor Hilgard Unit of the Lee Metcalf Wilderness, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Two separate incidents of a drone flying in the fire area forced firefighting aircraft stop their work on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. The lack of air resources from the second incident caused the fire to grow, officials wrote in an update.

The Forest Service encourages anyone with information about the drone or its operator to call Marna Daley at 406-570-5526.

“Drones cause significant safety concerns and cease all air operations,” said Corey Lewellen, agency administrator for the Shedhorn Fire, in a news release. “We can’t stress enough that all flying of drones over the fire must stop immediately.”

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

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