Hamilton, Montana (June 28, 2016) – Crews continue to fight the Observation Fire burning in the Lost Horse area of the Bitterroot National Forest. The fire is estimated at 322 acres and is burning in extremely steep terrain. Helicopters have dropped over 100,000 gallons of water on the fire. A mobile retardant station will be set up near the fire today. There are 117 personnel, an additional 2,600 gallon helicopter now assigned to the incident.
Dozer line is being constructed from Lost Horse Road to the southeast side of fire. There was minimal fire activity reported on the east side of the fire perimeter yesterday. Most of the activity was on the northwest flank. The fire is still holding on Observation Ridge. Ground crews plan to focus on the southwest and northeast sides of the fire while aerial resources will continue work in the inaccessible terrain. Incident Command Post is scheduled to move to the Darby High School today.
A new road and area closure order was expanded Monday evening to include the Lost Creek Horse Road (FSR #429) from the junction with Lick Creek Road (FSR#5621) west to Twin Lakes, Schumaker Campground and Bear Creek Pass Trailhead due to firefighter and public safety concerns. The public is encouraged to minimize traffic in the area. Lake Como and Coyote Coulee Trail remain open. However boaters may observe helicopters dipping water from Lake Como and are advised to stay clear of any aircraft.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is also in place for a 5 mile radius above the fire west of Highway 93. For more specific information about the TFR visit FAA.gov.
Three new small fires, each lightning-caused and 1/10th acre in size, were reported by lookouts Monday evening. Bitterroot National Forest fire crews are responding: one near Dowling Gulch on the Sula Ranger District; one at Scimitar, 1 mile NE of Magruder, and another at Cache Creek in the Nez Perce Pass area on the West Fork Ranger District. Fire danger is expected to increase to HIGH on Wednesday. Weather conditions will remain hot and dry throughout the week with potential for scattered thunderstorms.
For additional information about the fire visit www.inciweb.gov or stay in touch with us through www.facebook.com/DiscoverBitterrootNF and www.twitter.com/BitterrootNF.
Bitterroot National Forest Offices:
Stevensville Ranger District, (406) 777-5461
Darby/Sula Ranger District, (406) 821-3913
West Fork Ranger District, (406) 821-3269
Supervisor’s Office, (406) 363-7100