HAMILTON - A pair of wildfires continue to burn in the Bitterroot National Forest.
The lightning-caused Mill Lake Fire which is seven miles west of Pinesdale has now burned 1,608 acres.
Fire managers report on Monday that the Mill Creek drainage continues to be filled with heavy smoke, limiting fire staff from viewing the fire from the air.
The main fire is currently smoldering and creeping and there was little to no movement to the east from the last report.
The blaze is burning in very steep, rugged, and inaccessible terrain with large boulder fields with dead-standing timber.
There are 50 people assigned to the Mill Lake Fire.
Directly south of the Mill Lake fire, the Blodgett Lake fire exhibited extreme fire behavior on Sunday and is now estimated at 1,200 acres in size.
Late afternoon aircraft observed extreme crowning and spotting occurred at least a quarter of a mile ahead of the main fire front.
The fire has crossed the main Blodgett Creek on the east flank of the fire and is smoldering in the down and deal fuels, with isolated pockets of open flames on the south and west flanks.
Blodgett Creek Campground and Blodgett Trail #19 are now closed to the public.
A Type I incident management team has been ordered for the Mill Lake and Blodgett Lake fires.
Bitterroot National Forest officials are working on expanding trail closures in the Blodgett Creek area. Additional information can be found at https://www.fs.usda.gov/bitterroot.
- Mill Creek, National Forest System (NFS) Trail #364 from trailhead origin to its intersection with Fred Burr Trail #38.
- Cow Creek, NFS Trail #3 from trailhead origin to the intersection of Mill Creek Trail #364.
- Hauf Lake, NFS Trail #309 from intersection of Mill Creek Trail #364 to Hauf Lake.
- Sears Lake, NFS Trail #312 from the intersection of Mill Creek Trail #364 to Sears Lake.
- Sheafman Creek, NFS Trail #82 from trailhead origin to Aichelee Lake.
- A section of Fred Burr NFS Trail #38, from the west end of Fred Burr Reservoir to its intersection with Mill Creek Trail #364.
- Cow Creek, NFS Road #438, uphill of the gate at the Bitterroot NF boundary line.
Other Fires in the Area:
- Big Creek Fire: 265 acres
- Bear Creek Fire: 5 acres
- Kootenai Creek: 0.3 acres
- South Fork Fire (Nez Perce Clearwater NF): 400 acres; 12 miles west of Stevensville in Idaho
Fire Danger is currently “Extreme” on the Bitterroot National Forest and Stage 2 Fire Restrictions also remain in place.