A Montana DNRC helicopter went down near Townsend, but all crew members are reportedly safe thanks to the quick actions of law enforcement and a DNRC employee.

That news according to Montana's Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who got word from local officials in Broadwater County:

I was just notified that a DNRC helicopter on the Deep Creek fire east of Townsend just went down. Amazingly, the chopper went down right in front of Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Amanda Villa, Broadwater County Deputy Sheriff Cordova, and as-yet unidentified DNRC employees, who helped get all 5 crew members out safely before the chopper erupted in flames.

Update posted at 6:20 a.m. on Wednesday: Broadwater County Undersheriff Brandon Harris tells us that- in addition to Trooper Villa and Deputy Tony Cordova- Broadwater Sheriff's Chaplain Erik Crusch also assisted with the rescue.

The DNRC is the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Their crews have been assisting with the Deep Creek Fire burning east of Townsend.

UPDATE: The DNRC issued the following update shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday night:

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) confirmed that a DNRC helicopter incident happened while responding to the Deep Creek Fire in Townsend, MT on June 15, 2021 at approximately 5:00 pm.

While en route to the Helibase, the aircraft experienced a hard landing that resulted in fire. All personnel on board were able to safely exit the aircraft and are being assessed by medical staff at both the Billings Clinic Broadwater in Townsend, MT and St. Peter’s Health in Helena, MT. There were five personnel on board.

Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT) also shared this update via Twitter, asking for prayers for all the first responders:

According to InciWeb, the fire was first reported around 3:45 p.m. on Sunday near mile marker 18 in the Deep Creek Canyon area:

The fire was estimated at 200 acres and burning north of Highway 12 East. Phil Knaub is the Incident Commander. Multiple resources are on season and aircraft have been assisting with water dropping missions. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. The fire is burning in timber, brush and grasses and weather forecast is calling for more hot, dry and windy weather conditions for the next few days.

We also got reports Tuesday afternoon that Highway 12 had been closed to traffic due to the fire, according to Lee Newspapers' reporter Phil Drake via Twitter.

Former Bozeman Daily Chronicle reporter Troy Carter also shared a photo of the smoke as seen from Bozeman further south.


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