The lightning-caused Como Lake fire has burned about 23 acres on a ridge 3 miles from the popular Bitterroot National Forest recreation area. The fire was reported Saturday, August 29, and air tankers and helicopters attacked the fire while a hot shot crew and other ground personnel reached the blaze. Monday, rain has been falling throughout the Bitterroot Valley and crews at the Como Fire will begin working on firelines. Como Lake remains open. The management team on that fire is also closely watching a lightning-caused fire in a cliff area up the Lost Horse at 12 Mile Creek. It's about 2 to 3 acres, according to fire management officer Mark Wilson and due to the steep terrain, water drops from helicopters are the main way they're working on the fire.

Concerning other forest fires, Wilson said the nearby Cinnabar Fire, just over the Continental Divide in the Rock Creek area of the Lolo National Forest, has been actively burning this weekend, with smoke visible from the Bitterroot Valley. The fire, about 10 miles east of Stevensville, is burning to the northeast and is in the Welcome Creek Wilderness. There are over 200 people on the Cinnabar fire, which is estimated at 1,955 acres. Rock Creek Road and all fishing access and campgrounds remain open, according to Lolo forest officials.

Wilson said smoke from fires on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest has been coming into the Stevensville area, though the fires are near Powell Ranger Station in Idaho. In the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Nez Perce-Clearwater officials report the Marion fire is 168 acres and the Double Fire on the Moose Creek Ranger District is 106 acres. Other smaller wilderness fires in the Lochsa Ranger District include the Beaver, Warm Springs, Sponge, Colt Lake and Mocus fires. All were lightning-caused.

Wilson said the Monday rains have been good, but hot, dry conditions and wind will be the main weather events for the rest of the week and fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest remains "Very High."

Meanwhile, a new, apparently human-caused fire started Sunday near Arlee in the Finley Creek drainage. The fire spread up the mountainside about 23 acres, while airplanes and helicopters dropped water and retardant on it. The fire is east of US 93. (see photo below)

arlee forest fire
Forest fire near Arlee. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)

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