Posted: Aug 15, 2012 9:23 AM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center
Updated: Aug 15, 2012 9:11 AM
LAKE COMO- Bitterroot National Forest firefighters are working on a three acre blaze that started Monday afternoon after someone walked away from a smoldering campfire and it quickly escaped a rock fire ring and spread to nearby grass and trees.
Forest spokesperson Tod McKay says the fire was spotted at around 2:30 p.m. near a campsite off Lick Creek Road #5621, about two miles north of Lake Como. The blaze was started well beyond the dispersed campsite in the trees.
McKay added in a news release that the campsite is located at the top of the pass between Lick Creek and Lost Horse.
A dozen firefighters and three engines were assigned to the fire and two helicopters dropped buckets of water on it Monday to keep it from spreading.
McKay says this is the fourth abandoned campfire they've discovered on the Bitterroot National Forest in three days.
Forest officials are asking for the public's help in locating whoever was responsible for Monday's abandoned campfire. Leaving a fire without completely extinguishing it on Forest Service lands is prohibited and violators face substantial fines and potentially paying fire suppression costs, which can easily run into the thousands, according to McKay.
Anyone with information about the abandoned campfire is encouraged to call 1.800.TIP.MONT or Ravalli County Crimestoppers at 406) 363.0062.
Conditions on the Bitterroot National Forest are extremely dry and the potential for fire spread is very high. Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, which limit campfires to Forest-provided fire rings within designated campgrounds or recreation areas, will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, August 18th.