June 27, 2016
Contact: Dixie Dies
What: Observation Point Fire
Discovered: June 24th, noon
Location: Bitterroot National Forest, Darby Ranger District
Summary: Firefighters continue suppression efforts on the Observation Point Fire, located 10 miles southwest of Hamilton. The fire is burning in very steep terrain making fire suppression efforts difficult.
Current size: 202 acres
Containment: Crews are making progress constructing fireline along the ridge at Observation Point and are focusing efforts along the east flank of the fire.
Resources on Fires: 80 firefighters – 4 helicopters, two 20-person hot shot crews, engine crews from the Darby and Stevensville Ranger District, hand crew from Sula, Pinesdale Fire Department Water Tender
Lightning: Slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms along with hot temperatures and low relative humidity predicted all week.
Fire Danger: Fire Danger is currently “moderate” on the Bitterroot National Forest. Expected to go to “high” mid-week. When the fire danger is "moderate" it means that fires can start from most accidental causes, but the number of fire starts is usually pretty low. If a fire does start in an open, dry grassland, it will burn and spread quickly on windy days. Most wood fires will spread slowly to moderately. Average fire intensity will be moderate except in heavy concentrations of fuel, which may burn hot. Fires are still not likely to become serious and are often easy to control.
Fire Restrictions: Currently the Bitterroot National Forest is not under any fire restriction. To stay current on fire restrictions, visit http://firerestrictions.us/.
Closures: An area closure is in effect. Forest Road 496 is closed to the public from Coyote Coulee Trailhead. Camas Lake Trail #125 is closed as well. The Lost Horse road remains open, please be on the lookout for fire traffic.
Special Concerns: Safety of firefighters and the public is always a primary concern. Extremely hot and dry temperatures are predicted for the upcoming holiday weekend and firefighters are asking for the public’s help in preventing human-caused wildfires. Never leave a campfire unattended and make sure your coals are cool to the touch before you leave. Also, fireworks are not permitted on National Forests. Please leave them at home!
2016 Fire Season: Firefighters have responded to and extinguished 5 wildfires this summer on the Bitterroot National Forest. Due to the quick response of crews, all of the fires were kept under 1/2 acre in size.