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Wildfire, fire management and air quality news for western Montana and the Northern Rockies.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For July 24, 2018

The lightning caused Mt. George Fire was discovered by a fire lookout Tuesday morning in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
Bitterroot National Forest
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The lightning caused Mt. George Fire was discovered by a fire lookout Tuesday morning in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

The Bacon Rind Fire, detected Friday evening above the Gallatin Canyon about 20 miles south of Big Sky is now being estimated at 202 acres. It was started by a thunderstorm that moved through the area on July 16. It is burning in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness area about two miles west Highway 191, between Bacon Rind and Snowslide Creeks. 

Roughly 20 acres of the fire's perimeter is now across the Yellowstone National Park boundary.

Jason Brey, a ranger on the Custer-Gallatin National Forest says managers are using "indirect supression" tactics on the fire, both because heavy downed timber and snags in the area make it dangerous for firefighters, and because, "the fire is doing an excellent job in cleaning up beetle-killed timber and playing its natural role."

The Bitterroot National Forest is now calling the Reynolds Lake Fire southwest of Darby 35 percent contained, up from 25 percent yesterday. The acreage on that fire is holding steady at 1,068 acres.

The Bitterroot also reports a new lightning-caused fire discovered this morning on the West Fork District in Idaho’s Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  The Mt. George Fire is 1/10 acre and is located six miles east of Paradise Campground near Cooper Flat.  It was discovered by a fire lookout following several lightning strikes in the area.  A helicopter was immediately dispatched and dropped buckets of water to try and suppress the fire.  It is not staffed at this time as it is burning in extremely steep and inaccessible terrain.  There are no structures threatened or closures due to the fire.  Fire managers will continue to monitor the fire closely for any additional activity. 

The size of the Highway 37 Fire outside Libby has remained steady at about 51 acres. This morning public safety officials there warned the public that rocks and debris may be rolling onto Highway 37. Intermittent closures may occur as crews clear the road. They're asking motorists to pay close attention to speed, 35 mph is the limit through the fire area but conditions may warrant even slower speeds.

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