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Wildfires continue…

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A wildfire west of Three Forks has grown to about 7.5 square miles amid gusty winds that prevented burnout operations.

Fire officials say the Pony fire in the Tobacco Root mountains grew about a half square mile overnight after strong gusts sent crew tents rolling across their encampment near Whitehall on Tuesday.

Firefighters were able to hold all containment lines but the wind kept aerial crews from lighting fires to use up fuel along the southwest side of the blaze Wednesday. The blaze is 60 percent contained, and fire information officer Alan Hoffmeister says crews hoped to contain the blaze by Sunday.

Elsewhere in Montana, the Ash Creek Complex fire remained the state’s largest after it burned through 382 square miles in the Custer National Forest east of Lame Deer. That blaze was about 50 percent contained.

Ranches on the Ashland/Broadus divide remain threatened, and the Red Cross has a shelter that is housing people.

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