HAMILTON – The sky sure lit up over Ravalli County on Wednesday night.
The Bitterroot National Forest (BNF) reports that 1,065 lightning strikes were recorded and that many touched the ground.
Firefighters are working on two new wildfires that were sparked by Wednesday night’s lightning. Both have been contained.
- Cooper Draw Fire: 1/2 acre, caused by lightning. The fire is located on the West Fork Ranger District south of Painted Rocks Reservoir. The initial attack included a helicopter with two firefighters and a bucket for water drops. Two engines with 10 firefighters also responded and crews completed a fireline around the fire and are finishing mop-up.
- Gold Creek Fire: 1.5 acres, caused by lightning. The fire is located in the Sapphire Mountains northwest of the Gold Creek Campground. The initial attack included two helicopters with firefighters and buckets for water drops. Two engines with 10 firefighters also responded, along with a water tender. Crews have a hose lay around the fire and are finishing mop-up.
- There are also two new, small, lightning-caused fires in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho. Forest officials say that due to the combination of no immediate values at risk near the fires and very steep, rugged terrain, the fires will not be staffed.
Some rain fell with the thunderstorms. BNF officials report the valley bottom and Sapphire Mountains received the most rain with one location near the Hog Trough Fire reporting 1.6".