(Gallatin County, Mont) On September 5, 2020, the Bridger Foothills fire went from approximately 400 acres to over 7000 in a 6-hour period. This type of wind and fire behavior is extremely fast and dangerous. When you combine the canyon topography with residences located on long winding roads surrounded by forest, warnings and evacuations were extremely dangerous and difficult.

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office warned and/or evacuated the following a total of 728 residences and 1674 people:

  • 588 residences (1352 people) in Gallatin County
  • 140 residences (322 people) in Park County

The evacuation area (without Bracket Creek/Skunk Creek) is 165 sq miles – see map.


  • 28 homes lost
  • 3 injuries, all firefighters
  • 0 lives lost

The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office had 42 deputies (out of 62) who worked the fire, totaling approximately 800 overtime hours on top of regular hours worked. The following law enforcement agencies assisted with road blocks and traffic control: Park County Sheriff’s Office, Sweetgrass County Sheriff’s Office, Carbon County Sheriff’s Office, Bozeman Police Department, MSU Police Department, Montana Highway Patrol, and US Forest Service.

Sheriff Brian M. Gootkin

Map of evacuation area courtesy of Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office