HAMILTON – Holdover lightning strikes continue to flare into small fires on the Bitterroot National Forest.
Two new fires were reported Saturday. Both were under one-tenth of an acre.
One started about four miles southwest of the Lost Trail ski area near the border of Montana and Idaho. It’s burning in high-elevation lodgepole pine.
A helicopter was dropping buckets of water on it Saturday afternoon.
A second fire was reported five miles east of Hells Half Acre in the upper reaches of the West Fork of the Bitterroot near the Montana and Idaho border.
Two firefighters and a helicopter were dispatched to fight that fire.
“We’re not expecting a lot of problems with either of them,” said Bitterroot Forest fire management officer Rick Floch. “We’ve put quite a bit of air resources on them. We’ll try to do that with any new fire.”
Firefighters have the upper hand on the small blaze east of Corvallis that started last week. Floch said they had pumps and hoses into the burned area and should be able to wrap that one up soon.
There is a good chance that additional fires started by last week’s lightning storms could show up in the next few days, he said.
“We did have quite a bit of lightning from those last few storms,” he said. “It looks like we have some change coming in the weather in a few days, but it will be hot and dry until then.”
Floch said forest officials did discover two abandoned campfires over the last couple of days. One was in the Three Mile area and the other was discovered in the Lost Horse.
One of those fires had spread beyond its fire ring.
With the forest being tinder dry at this point, Floch reminded visitors to take care with the campfires.
There were no new fires Saturday on the Lolo National Forest.
“The red flag warning didn’t materialize on Friday,” said Lolo National Forest spokesperson Boyd Hartwig.
The Meadow Creek fire three miles east of Cooper Lake in the Scapegoat Wilderness remained at 25 acres.
Hartwig said that fire has been hit hard over the past couple of days with helicopter water drops.