At least seven new lighting-caused fires on the Bitterroot National Forest are small and manageable thanks to quick initial attack by fire crews.
Forest spokesman Tod McKay says thunderstorms produced 175 confirmed lighting strikes in the Bitterroot and Missoula areas Monday night.
"The good news is all the fires are small at less than a tenth of an acre," Mckay says. "Four of the seven are already contained and we anticipate we'll have the other three contained. We are anticipating - and will not be surprised at all today - if we have more fires spring up because of the storms."
McKay says crews will be extremely busy dealing with lightning-caused fire this summer.
"But boy, we really can't have human-caused fires or our crews will not be able to keep up. This is going to be an extreme summer - maybe even historic summer - in terms of fire and starts and dryness, so we really need the public's help in making sure they're very cautious in terms of fire."
Fire danger is rated as "very high" on the Bitterroot National Forest. Stage 1 Fire Restrictions go into effect this Friday. Campfires will only be allowed within a designated campground or recreation area that contains a Forest-provided fire ring.