Lightning Storm Starts Small Fires in Bitterroot
Ravalli County Witnesses report two small forest fires started by lightning strikes Tuesday evening.
The small but active storm passed through the Bitterroot Valley after sunset and a fire was reported up Bass Creek, while a tree was set on fire east of Florence in the Sapphire Mountains. Both appeared to be on the Bitterroot National Forest. Forest crews will be monitoring the area for other hold-over fires from the storm.
Meanwhile, the Lolo Peak forest fire is now estimated at 70 acres, putting up a column of smoke again Tuesday afternoon. No structures are threatened on that fire in the Lolo National Forest. The Whetstone Ridge fire southwest of Philipsburg is estimated at 374 acres, with not much growth, according to Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest officials.
In Idaho, the Craig Mountain Complex south of Lewiston grew 1,000 acres from 8,600 to 9,600 acres in the latest report from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. The complex includes the Corral Creek fire and the Powerline fire, both burning in heavy grass and brush. Twelve structures are threatened, according the to Type 2 Incident Management team. The fires started Saturday, July 15, by lightning.
Smoke from those fires is drifting east into Montana and the Bitterroot Valley.