Fire crews on Tuesday scrambled to respond to new fires across western Montana and central Idaho after Monday night's thunderstorm.
More than 2,500 lighting strikes sparked 70 new fires on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in Idaho, according to public affairs specialist Laura Smith. An additional 25 starts are burning on state and private land in the area.
Bob Fry’s Northern Rockies Type 2 Incident Management Team has been assigned to the 800-acre Lawyers Complex fire in Lawyers Creek Canyon near Kamiah. One hundred people from multiple agencies are fighting the fire.
Twenty-five new fires started on the Lochsa Ranger District, including at least five in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
Another 25 fires started in the Pilot Knob area of the Salmon River District, including two under the Pilot Knob Lookout.
Eight of 19 new fires in the Pilot Knob and upper Newsome Creek drainages of the Red River District have been staffed, as are five fires on the Moose Creek District.
Three fires reported early Monday on the North Fork District, holdovers from Sunday night storms, are staffed and expected to be contained Tuesday.
West of Ovando, A wildfire sparked by lightning forced the closure of River Junction Road past Scotty Brown Bridge.
Multiple aircraft and state and local firefighters have been assigned to the 13.5-acre Scotty Brown fire, according to Jordan Koppen, information officer with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. The fire remains uncontrolled.
River Junction Road past the bridge is open to emergency traffic only, and the public is advised to be cautious of fire traffic along Montana Highway 200.
North of Lincoln, the 10-acre Sucker Creek fire is burning in dense snag patches on steep terrain.
Two helicopters are are assisting Lincoln Ranger District firefighters, and additional crews and resources have been ordered, information officer Kathy Bushnell said.
On the Lolo National Forest, nine of 17 reports of smoke have been confirmed as fires and are being staffed with firefighters.
Most of the fires are one-tenth of an acre or less, said Lolo Forest spokesman Boyd Hartwig. The largest is one-quarter acre in the Holloman Saddle area on the Missoula Ranger District, approximately 10 miles southeast of Missoula. It is staffed by 10 firefighters.
Five reports of smoke are on the Ninemile Ranger District, the Plains-Thompson Falls and Missoula districts each have four, three are on the Superior District and one is on the Seeley Lake District.
Fire managers will continue to respond to new reports of smoke, and flights are also planned for the next several days to locate new starts.
On the Bitterroot National Forest, firefighters are staffing nine of 11 reported fires, according to information officer Joni Lubke. All of the fires are less than a quarter-acre.
On the Stevensville Ranger District, four fires have been reported between Burnt Fork Lake and Willow Mountain and two are staffed. Two fires in the Butterfly area between the Vermiculite Mine and Fool Hen Lake are also staffed.
Four fires on the Darby-Sula District have been staffed. They are located nine miles up Lost Horse Creek, Benson Creek, Martin Creek and Whisky Gulch. The fire in the Benson Creek area is contained.
A fire in the area of Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski area has been extinguished.
Salmon-Challis Forest National Forest firefighters in Idaho are staffing three fires.
The single-tree Gorley fire and one-tenth-acre Lake fire are burning on the Salmon-Cobalt District, the one-tenth-acre Sunflower fire on the Middle Fork District.