Bitterroot Fire grows to 40 acres


HAMILTON, Mont. - Below is a press release from Bitterroot National Forest on the latest of the Lost Horse Fire.

Detected:  July 25 - Lightning caused

Location:  Approx. 10 miles southwest of Hamilton – Darby Ranger District 

Narrative:  The Lost Horse fire located ten miles southwest of Hamilton, has grown to 40 acres.  The fire grew to the east and north yesterday, fanned by upslope winds.  This despite constant bucket work by three helicopters and an air tanker which dropped several loads of fire retardant.  See below for more details.

The fire is burning in extremely steep, rugged, and rocky terrain, near the top of a ridge - making it inaccessible on foot for firefighters.  The terrain includes cliffs, rock outcroppings, screes, and boulder fields with rocks the size of vehicles.  It's so steep that there are no safe landing spots for helicopters to drop off firefighters or places where rappellers (from helicopters) can safely land to access the fire.  Even if firefighters could access the remote location, they cannot dig fire line due to the extremely rocky terrain.               

Current Size:  Estimated 40 acres  Containment:  0%

Resources on Fire:  Multiple aircraft (4 helicopters).  10-person hand crew.  Two 20-person (Type 2) crews have been ordered and are expected to arrive tomorrow.  A Type 3 Incident Management Team is now managing the fire.  Fire camp is located at Darby High School.        

Air Statistics:  The three helicopters working on the Lost Horse fire yesterday dumped 72,900 gallons of water on the fire.  The air tanker dumped more than 4,000 gallons of fire retardant on the ridge to try and keep the fire from moving further north.       

 Fire Activity:  The fire is creeping through large rock screes and steep boulder fields and there is single and group torching of trees. 

Safety Concerns:  Firefighter safety remains the primary concern due to the remote location and steep and rugged terrain.     

Closures:  There is no immediate threat to structures or closures at this time. 

Smoke near Stevensville:  There are several lightning caused wildfires burning west of Saint Mary Peak in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Idaho producing smoke visible from Stevensville and the surrounding area.  All of the fires are small and are located on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest

Video and Photos:  To see video and photos of today's recon flight over the Lost Horse fire visit our Facebook page at  For the latest fire information and maps visit


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