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Fire In 'hands Of God,' Says Governor


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Fire in 'Hands of God,' Says Governor



HELENA, Mont. (Aug. 5) - Authorities told residents of about 200 homes to evacuate and pulled firefighters off a fast-growing wildfire in western Montana out of concern for their safety.


Winds between 25 and 30 mph were helping to fan the blaze northeast of Missoula on Saturday, near the popular getaway spots of Seeley and Placid lakes. The fire was volatile and could grow rapidly, jeopardizing crews, Schweitzer said.

"This fire is in the hands of God right now," Gov. Brian Schweitzer said after taking a helicopter flight over the blaze, which already had burned nearly 8 square miles since starting Friday afternoon.


"We can't risk firefighters' lives," he said.


Residents of about 200 homes scattered around Seeley Lake and Placid Lake to the south were ordered to evacuate, said Jamie Kirby, a fire information officer. The governor told them to "open the gates, turn the livestock loose, take your pets, shut off the propane at the tank, shut off the electricity and get out."


There were no reports of homes burning, Kirby said. It was not known how close the fire was to the residences, a mix of year-round and vacation homes.

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