Boats from the state, Lake County and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes delivered firefighters to Wild Horse Island on Flathead Lake late Wednesday afternoon, where they quickly caught a wildfire.

“It was a scramble to get folks out there,” said Ron Swaney, CSKT fire management officer. “We got a lot of help from a lot of different people.”

The fire was reported at 3:46 p.m. and crews immediately headed across the water, Swaney said.

The flames demonstrated “pretty good fire behavior,” and a helicopter was called in to help slow the blaze, he said. Two single-engine air tankers also assisted in battling the fire.

By shortly after 6 p.m., the fire was contained at less than five acres. “We’ve got it pretty well knocked down,” Swaney said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


The Pat’s Gulch fire, located east of Stevensville in the Sapphire Range, remained at 2.5 acres Wednesday after firefighters established a hose line around the perimeter, according to U.S. Forest Service officials.

More firefighters arrived during the day to help build a fire line and crews successfully contained two spot fires that started outside the perimeter, according to officials.

The additional firefighters brought the total crew to 20.

The fire is burning in lodgepole pine in a fairly remote area, about 1.5 miles northeast of Ambrose Saddle in the Lolo National Forest. Officials said no structures are in danger.

On Tuesday, firefighters dealt with strong winds in the fire area, but were able to check the growth with aircraft and engines.

Four engines and one Type I helicopter will help firefighters who are working the blaze, and single engine air tankers are available if needed, according to officials.

Snags in the area could be hazardous. There are no closures in the area, officials said.

The fire was caused by lightning, officials said.


The Rock Point fire in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness grew 43 acres on Tuesday, from 120 to 163 acres, on the west side.

Smoke is now visible in the Bitterroot Valley and could remain visible the rest of the week, according to an online update from Tod McKay, public information officer for the Bitterroot National Forest.

The fire was started by a lightning strike on Friday and has grown from 40 acres on Monday, burning through subalpine fir and brush pockets on steep, rocky terrain.

That terrain combined with the high elevation of the fire is making it “extremely difficult” for firefighters to access the area, according to the update.

Eleven firefighters are camped near the fire and are working to establish a hose line from nearby Bear Creek to keep the fire north of Bear Creek Trail and slow growth to the east using pumps that were flown in Tuesday, according to the update.

A type I helicopter is available to drop water on hot spots as needed.

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