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6 new fires caused by lightning in Bitterroot Valley

Posted at 4:24 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 01:21:55-04

Firefighters are working Thursday afternoon on six new fires caused by lightning from thunderstorms that went through the Bitterroot Valley early Thursday morning.

Thanks to the quick response by fire crews and aviation resources, all of the fires are small – less than ½ acre in size. The fires are located in both the Sapphire and Bitterroot Mountains.

Tod McKay with the Bitterroot National Forest reports there are currently 20 firefighters and four helicopters assigned to the blazes which are being actively suppressed under a full-suppression strategy.

There are no structures threatened or closures as of Thursday evening. Crews will work Thursday to contain, control, and extinguish the remaining smoldering hot spots.

McKay reports that more than 150 confirmed lightning strikes, mostly on the northeast end of the Bitterroot Forest Thursday morning, were the cause of the fires. Fire crews will be on the lookout for more fires this week.

Fire danger is currently “high” in the Bitterroot National Forest. When fire danger is “high,” fires will start from most causes. The fires will spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common.

To date, there have been 19 small wildfires on the Bitterroot National Forest; six human-caused and 13 lightning fires.