BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) _ Five homes were evacuated before dawn Friday as firefighters tried to stop a wildfire that has scorched 3,200 acres about 60 miles northwest of Yellowstone National Park.
Families living in the foothills south of Bozeman were awakened at 2 a.m. and told to evacuate as gusting winds blew flames to within a quarter-mile of some homes. Fire officials warned other residents they, too, could be ordered to leave by the end of the day.
Twenty-five homes adjacent to Gallatin National Forest had been evacuated Thursday as winds up to 35 mph stoked the fire. Some livestock were also moved.
Ash and blackened pine needles blew into the streets of Bozeman and a smoke plume was visible 40 miles away in Livingston.
Travel was disrupted on U.S. 191 _ a main route to Yellowstone National Park _ as a section of the highway was closed to all but emergency traffic.
The fire started early Wednesday and may have been human-caused, officials said. It spread quickly as it burned in heavy timber and moved to the north and east.
Almost 300 firefighters have been deployed along with four helicopters and four air tankers.