Posted: Aug 9, 2012 7:11 AM by Breanna Roy - KPAX News
Updated: Aug 9, 2012 7:15 AM
HAMILTON- A grass fire burned an estimated 200 acres off Sleeping Child Road just south of Hamilton on Wednesday evening with all of the Bitterroot Valley's volunteer departments responding to the scene.
It started with a spark and it took off fast covering hundreds of acres, but the good news is that it didn't strike on the west side of Sleeping Child Road, because that's where the homes are.
"There was a potential probably for I would say 30 to 40 homes being affected if the wind would've pushed it a different direction," Hamilton Fire Chief Brad Mohn explained.
The Bear Creek fire burned uphill through mostly sagebrush which gave crews on the ground time to dig a line around a third of it while a pair of U.S. Forest Service helicopters dropped water, extinguishing most of the blaze fast.
"Everybody from the Forest Service to the local departments are hitting these things as fast as we can with everything we have to keep 'em from becoming the large fires that we're all too used to seeing," Mohn said late Wednesday.
But fire crews say all it would take is a little bit of wind to add to a couple more dry days and they could be spending several days here on Sleeping Child Road.
Firefighters were able to rest overnight with just a couple of crews patrolling hot spots, but on Thursday crews will be back at it, aiming for mop-up by the end of the day.