Lightning Storm Zips Over Northern Bitterroot Valley
An active thunderstorm passed through Western Montana Sunday evening, but the lightning strikes in the Bitterroot National Forest were limited, according to a weekly fire status report for the Ravalli County Commissioners Monday morning, July 18.
The strikes were noticed on the Stevensville Ranger District and outside the forest boundaries in Stevensville-Florence area. A power pole was set on fire by one strike.
Today, forest personnel will be watching closely for "holdover" fires that have smoldered overnight and start burning in the afternoon heat.
There are still some hot spots in the interior of the Observation forest fire, which is 90 percent contained. The Lost Horse Road has been reopened. Forest visitors now have access to Twin Lakes and Bear Creek Pass trailhead (and some great huckleberry patches!). The Coyote Coulee trail is open, too.
However, the road to Lost Horse Observation Point and Camas Lake trailhead was still closed as of Saturday July 16.
Firewood gathering is easy with large wood piles at the gravel pit up Lost Horse Road. The wood is from trees cut down during the Observation Point fire. You'll need a Bitterroot National Forest firewood permit to gather up the firewood. They're available at any Forest Service district or the Hamilton Supervisor's Office.