West Alder Fire approaches 20 acres


MISSOULA, Mont. - The following press release was sent out by Boyd Hartwig, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

Firefighters responded to a lightning caused fire about one mile southwest of Bitterroot Flat Campground on the Missoula Ranger District over the weekend. This is about 20 miles south of Interstate 90 and on the west side of Rock Creek and Rock Creek Road. The fire is burning at about 15 acres on mid and upper slopes within scattered timber and rocky scree.

Smoke is likely to be visible today to some Rock Creek residents and to vehicle traffic on Rock Creek Road.

There are 2 twenty person crews, 2 helicopters and 2 engines working check fire growth to the east and developing a strategy to confine and contain this fire in steep and rocky terrain. Helicopters have been used to drop water on the leading edge of the fire and fire managers will again utilize aircraft today as needed.

Fire managers will also utilize natural barriers such as rock outcroppings to confine and contain this fire. Today (August 11) will likely bring additional fire growth due to hot and dry conditions. No structures, people or property are currently threatened by this fire.

An area closure has been signed for public and firefighter safety. The west boundary is FS Trail 313 which is closed from its north junction with FS Trail 233 (Wahlquist Trail) south to Sawmill Saddle. South of Sawmill Saddle Trail 313 remains open. The general east boundary of the closure is Rock Creek Road, which remains open. Bitterroot Flat Campground remains open but will likely be closed once public notification can be made to campers in the area.

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