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Firefighters dig line around small wildfire in Missoula’s Pattee Canyon

Firefighters established a fire line around a new blaze in Pattee Canyon late Sunday. (Lolo National Forest)

Fire crews responded to reports of fire burning in Pattee Canyon east of Missoula on Sunday afternoon, the latest in a series of new blazes sparked by recent storms.

The fire, burning roughly one mile north of Pattee Canyon campground, was reportedly four acres in size as of 5 p.m., according to Missoula Ranger District spokesman Boyd Hartwig.

“Helicopters are dropping water on the fire, which is in timber and active due to the gusty winds and available fuels,” Hartwig said. “Crews and aircraft are making progress on this fire in challenging conditions.”

No structures were in immediate jeopardy, Hartwig said.

By 7 p.m., crews had established a line around the blaze and air resources had been released. The hot shot crew assigned to the fire was improving the line and will begin extinguishing hot spots, according to Hartwig.

“This was a challenging fire due to the steep terrain, high winds and heavy timber,” he said.

Members of the Tatanka Hotshots from the Black Hills National Forest were seen heading to the fire at 5 p.m. (Lolo National Forest)

The fire was initially reported around 2 p.m. Hartwig said two heavy helicopters provided initial attack earlier in the afternoon. Members of the Tatanka Hotshots from the Black Hills National Forest were seen heading to the fire at 5 p.m.

The Slide Rock Fire, also burning on the Lolo National Forest, was reportedly 40 acres in size on Sunday evening. The fire is located five miles east of Rock Creek Road, and air and ground resources are assigned to the incident.

“The fire area has heavy spotting and is in remote and inaccessible terrain with heavy timber,” Hartwig said. “There are no nearby communities in the fire area.”