MTPR

Montana Wildfire Roundup For July 19, 2018

Jul 19, 2018

A new estimate puts the Reynolds Lake Fire in the Bitterroot National Forest at more than 1,000 acres.

Forest spokesman Tod McKay said the fire grew from 10-15 acres yesterday morning to 1,068 acres by the day’s end. It was pushed by 30 mile-per-hour winds.

"It’s really one of the first fires we’ve had on the forest, and we’re trying to stop the spread and get this thing under control so it’s not with us for the rest of the summer," McKay said.

Official acreage for today isn’t yet available, but McKay said the fire has continued to grow to the west and the east. It’s burning on the border of the Bitterroot and Salmon-Challis National Forests, on the edge of the Frank Church Wilderness. The fire is believed to be lightning-caused.

Helicopters and air tankers dumped more than 100,000 gallons of water and retardant yesterday, and continued working today. 100 people are assigned to the fire, including four hotshot crews.

The area has seen multiple burns in recent years, including the Mustang Fire in 2012 and the Saddle Fire in 2011. No structures are currently threatened.

"Fire season is definitely here," McKay said. "Stuff is definitely dry and receptive to fire. Our crews are gonna be busy again this summer responding to lightning-caused fires and we don’t wanna be pulling them off those to go and chase human-caused fires."

Fire danger is currently listed as "High" in the Bitterroot National Forest.
 

July 18, 2018 - 3:26 p.m.

Zulu Fire, Kootenai National Forest

A Forest spokesman says the fire is holding at about 20 acres, and estimated 30 percent contained.

Reynolds Lake Fire, Bitterroot National Forest

As of 2:30 pm this fire is estimated at 1,068 acres, up from an estimated "several hundred" yesterday afternoon. It is burning about 10 miles west of Painted Rocks Lake, on the border of the Bitterroot and Salmon-Challis National Forest, on the edge of the Frank Church Wilderness.

The fire is believed to be lighting-caused, and no structures are threatened. About 80 personnel are assigned to the fire, including two 20-person Hotshot crews. Three helicopters are also on the fire, and multiple air tankers are on order. The tankers will drop fire retardant on key locations at the site.

A press release from the Bitterroot National Forest says growth is due to, "strong winds of up to 30mph over the fire area.  Most of the activity was on the east and south sides of the fire.  Growth was slowed somewhat as the fire burned into the Saddle Fire from 2011.  The west perimeter is holding thanks to multiple fire retardant drops yesterday by large air tankers."

Fire danger is currently listed as "High" in the Bitterroot National Forest.