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Horsefly fire

The Horsefly fire burns near Flesher Pass on Aug. 7.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton lifted evacuations caused by the Horsefly fire Friday evening. 

The orders were lifted as of 8 p.m., allowing residents to return to their homes. Firefighters, equipment and other personnel are remaining in the area for the time being. Dutton is asking the public to exercise "extreme caution" as they return home so crews can continue to work.

“In consultation with the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team and Incident Commander Mike Almas, volunteer fire Chief Sam Stigman and cooperating agencies, we have made the decision to lift these evacuations,” Dutton said.

“However, the fire is still burning. While it is in a condition to allow you to return home, if the situation changes, re-evacuations or more evacuations could occur. We ask people to stay vigilant and safe and appreciate your understanding and cooperation," he added.

The 1,300-acre Horsefly fire was reported early Monday afternoon and is burning about 15 miles east of Lincoln near Flesher Pass. The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office evacuated the area of Flesher Acres subdivision on the east side of Flesher Pass due to the fire.

The Idaho-based incident management team that fought the North Hills fire took over the fires in the Lincoln area. Officials reported aggressive fire behavior that included the fire spreading 2 miles in a matter of hours.

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After multiple days of hot and dry weather, a cool and wet system moved over the fire Friday. That slowed fire growth and allowed firefighters to access areas previously deemed unsafe. The fire was considered 25% contained on Friday evening.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

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