Lightning started a handful of new fires around western Montana on Friday night and Saturday morning, but firefighters had a good handle on them.
“We’ve got people on all of those and we’re not having any trouble,” said Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation fire information officer Cindy Super on Saturday afternoon.
Seven new fires were reported, including two spotted by firefighters on the Wet Cottonwood fire near Garrison, she said.
That fire held to about 40 acres Saturday. “We’ve had pretty good winds but it hasn’t grown any,” she said. About 90 firefighters are fighting the Wet Cottonwood, aided by two medium helicopters and one heavy helicopter.
The helicopters also helped with the two nearby lightning-strike fires, Super said.
The 2,000-acre Chandral Creek fire on the Montana-Idaho border south of Darby was listed as 40 percent contained Saturday. Some 351 firefighters are on that blaze, along with five helicopters, three engines, two dozers and four water tenders, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Evacuation remains a possibility for residents of upper Hughes Creek, and area trails have been closed, the Forest Service said.
In the Rattlesnake Wilderness, firefighters were able to keep the Twin Lakes fire from spreading upslope into heavier timber, said Lolo National Forest information officer Boyd Hartwig. That fire was 2.5 acres on Saturday.
The Hayes Creek fire about three miles west of the main Blue Mountain trailhead was reported Saturday and hit with water drops from helicopters Saturday afternoon.
“The effort was successful in keeping the fire from spreading significantly,” Hartwig said in a release. That fire is less than an acre.
Missoulian reporter Gwen Florio can be reached at 523-5268, email@example.com.