Tuesday lightning sparks at least 2 more fires in Missoula County
(Missoula Current) While the bulk of the region's fire resources are working the Colt fire northwest of Seeley Lake, several new fires were reported Tuesday morning north of Missoula.
Lightning rolled across the area late Monday and early Tuesday, when Missoula County issued a proclamation declaring a fire emergency.
“We have two new fires we're getting some intel on,” said Adrian Beck, the county's director of Disaster and Emergency Services.
Among them, the Big Knife fire was reported Tuesday morning at about 80 acres north of Missoula. As it stands, Beck said, the fire isn't a primary concern given its remote location.
“It's right on the Lake County-Missoula County line. There's not a whole lot in its way,” Beck said. “We've seen a lot of fires up here in the past. We expect it to follow terrain and pretty much march to the east. We'll keep monitoring it to see what resources they may need and how to engage.”
The second fire was reported several miles northwest of Missoula near Edith Peak atop Six Mile. The fire was only recently discovered and isn't yet on the fire map.
Beck said fire crews from Frenchtown and the Ninemile Ranger District were on scene.
“We're waiting for an update on that,” Beck said. “It's not too concerning right now, but we did take a lot of lightning last night along the reservation divide and further to the south.”
Beck said the region's fire agencies could consider Stage II restrictions in the coming days. While such restrictions are hard to enforce, she said conditions may force the county's hand.
“They become a challenge for us locally to implement by shutting down every backyard BBQ and every backyard campfire,” Beck said. “But when those conditions present themselves that they're appropriate, we'll be coming to the commission asking to implement Stage II fire restrictions. We're just not there yet.”