MISSOULA, Mont. - Several wildfires have been sparked near Seeley Lake following a storm that brought lighting.
Over the last 24 hours, around 200 lightning strikes were recorded over the Missoula area, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) reported.
As a result, DNRC firefighters are fighting several wildfires near Seeley Lake.
The following is information on five fires in the area according to the DNRC:
Elbow Lake Fire
The lightning caused Elbow Lake Fire south of Salmon Lake was reported 8/12 and is estimated at 20 acres and is 10% contained. There are two Type 2 hand crews working to mop up (remove all residual heat) and secure fire line with engine support. The fire did receive aerial support yesterday, with bucketdrops from the Missoula DNRC Type 2 helicopter helping to knock down flames. There are no structures threatened or concerns at this time.
Lost Prairie Fire
Also south of Salmon Lake, the lightning caused Lost Prairie Fire was reported 8/12 is 2.2 acres and 80% contained. Two DNRC engines are committed. Aerial support was received yesterday. There are no structures threatened or concerns at this time.
West of Greenough in the Dunnigan Gulch area, the lightning caused Dunnigan Fire was reported on 8/12 and is 1.0 acres and 100% contained. Crews will continue to patrol the fire and monitor for residual heat.
U.S. Forest Service firefighters are providing mutual aid to the DNRC and managing the Mountain Fireeast of Seeley Lake. This lightning caused wildfire reported on 8/12 is 0.3 acres burning in heavy dead and down timber. One engine and a module are committed. No structures are threatened or concerns at this time
Reported this morning, the Elevation Fire is a lightning caused fire located north of Bearmouth, burning in heavy dead and down timber. The fire is 0.25 acres and one DNRC engine with air support from the DNRC Type 2 helicopter is providing initial attack. There are no structures threatened or concerns at this time.
Closer to Missoula, lightning caused two more DNRC wildfires: Whitaker Bridge (0.1 acres) and Jack Ridge (0.2 acres) by Clark Creek. Both fires were reported and controlled on 8/12 and are currently in patrol status.
Detection flights by fixed wing aircraft will continue to be flown over the next few days to locate any “holdover” lightning caused fires that may still be out there. Isolated storms with accompanying lightning and gusty, erratic winds continuing through today could also continue to keep firefighters busy.
“With firefighting resources stretched thin by the numerous lightning caused wildfires, we ask residents and visitors to be extra careful when outdoors. Missoula County is in Extreme fire danger and any spark can become a wildfire...so please drown out those campfires and reduce the number of human caused fires that we have to respond to,” requests Karl Nikoleyczik, DNRC Southwestern Land Office Fire Management Officer.