2 New Mexico firefighters out of hospital after 5 injured in Montana


BILLINGS, Montana (AP) — Two New Mexico firefighters were released from the hospital as they continue to recover from injuries sustained when they were part of a group that was overrun by a Montana wildfire last week, a U.S. Forest Service spokesperson said Monday.

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Five firefighters were injured after swirling winds blew the lightning-caused wildfire back on them on Thursday. They had been trying to build a defensive line to stop the blaze in the Devil’s Creek area of Garfield County in central Montana.

The two released from the hospital are engine crew members based at the Quemado Ranger District at New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, said Forest Service spokesperson Punky Moore. Three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crew members were in stable condition and recovering as of Sunday at an undisclosed burn center, said Forest Service spokeswoman Kari Cobb. They three are based at the Eastern North Dakota Wetland Management District Complex.

Investigators from an interagency team were examining the accident scene to better determine what happened, Moore said. The fire grew overnight Sunday to 10 square miles (26 square kilometers). Crews were trying to keep it from approaching the nearby Fort Peck Reservoir along the Missouri River.

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