The Sawtooth forest fire, 7 miles southwest of Hamilton, has grown to 400 acres, as of noon Tuesday, September 4.

The fire is a holdover lightning strike north of Sawtooth Creek on the south side of Downing Mountain. The blaze, which started in rocks at a ridgetop, went from 30 acres to 300 acres with a Saturday afternoon wind.

Tod McKay, Bitterroot National Forest Public Affairs Officer, said strong winds Monday afternoon blew the fire northeast toward the Canyon Creek drainage on Downing Mountain, covering another 100 acres. Fire managers want to keep the fire out of the dense forest and heavy fuels in that drainage.

Two helicopters have been dropping water on the fire, and two ground crews have arrived to attack the fire on the east and south sides. One crew is putting in a containment line on the east side of the fire and sprinklers are being placed on the south side to keep the fire from spreading south across Sawtooth Creek.

Sawtooth Trail 123 is closed. A fire information wagon is parked along US 93 south of Hamilton across from the Roaring Lion Road and will be open from 12 noon to 8 p.m. daily. It has information on many of the fires burning in the area.

McKay said more resources will arrive Wednesday.

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