HAMILTON — Firefighters are working on five new fires in the Bitterroot National Forest that were sparked by lightning on Thursday evening.
Four of the fires are small, ¼ acre or less, and all are located south of Darby on the southern end of the forest. All of the fires are being actively suppressed and no structures are threatened at this time.
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The lightning-caused Woods Creek fire in the upper West Fork above Painted Rocks Reservoir and south of Razorback Mountain is the largest of the new fires. It is currently estimated at 20 acres and is staffed with 10 firefighters, two engines, and one helicopter that is assisting with water drops. A 20-person (Type 2) initial attack crew and an additional engine have been ordered and are headed to the fire.
Forest officials report there were more than 100 confirmed lightning strikes across the Bitterroot National Forest on Thursday, many that touched the ground. Fire crews, along with a fixed-wing air patrol, will be on the lookout for more fires through the weekend.
Fire Danger is currently “high” on the Bitterroot National Forest. When the fire danger is “high,” fires will start from most causes. The fires will spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common. All fine dead fuels ignite readily and unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape.
There have been 21 wildfires reported to date on the Bitterroot National Forest; 11 human-caused and 10 lightning fires.