Fire officials from the Butte Ranger District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest say that the wildfire near Whitehall is now burning at 1,000 acres.
The fire was caused by lightning on Aug. 25 and went undetected until Aug. 29.
The blaze is in an area difficult for firefighters to access due to rough terrain, numerous snags, and a significant amount of dead and down trees, about two miles northeast of the Whitetail Reservoir, approximately 16 miles northeast of Whitehall.
The fire was very active due to the high winds experienced Saaturday. Burn out operations were conducted to consume unburned fuels keeping the fire within the indirect lines. Helicopters assisted with bucket drops but were grounded later in the day by high winds and low visibility Air attack dropped several loads of retardant. Firefighters from the State Creek Fire, Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF, Butte Silver Bow, and Jefferson County also assisted with 4 new fire starts during the day.
A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Saturday starting at 1:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. This will produce high temperatures, low humidity, and some gusty winds. With the predicted weather the fire could become slightly more active making smoke visible from the Whitetail Road.
Crews on the fire include a Type 2 Crew from Oregon, 10 person Crew from the Kootenai National Forest, 9 person Smokejumper Module from West Yellowstone, 1 Water Tender, 1 Type 3 Engine from Jefferson County, 2 Forest Service Type 6 Engines and miscellaneous overhead totaling 70 personnel.
Closure orders have been issued by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management closing the area, including roads and trails, near the fire. For more information about this fire and other fires across the country, click here.
Photos courtesy of Inciweb