Monday Storm Scatters Sparks Throughout the Forests
The Monday evening lightning storm that surged through Idaho and Western Montana set off at least 70 new forest fires on Idaho's Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests and 11 on the Bitterroot National Forest.
Satellites recorded over 2,500 lightning strikes during the storm.
Public Affairs Specialist Laura Smith on the Nez Perce-Clearwater reported that besides the new fires on federal land, 25 fires were reported on Idaho state and private land. The Lochsa Ranger district had 25 new fires, with at least 5 in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, Salmon River Ranger District had 25 new fires, Red River had 19 new fires, of which eight are already staffed, Moose Creek has sent crews to five new fires. Three new fires from a previous thunderstorm were reported on the North Fork Ranger District.
In the Bitterroot National Forest, Joni Lubke reports that 11 fires were reported with crews on 9 of them. A fire in the Lost Trail area has been declared out. The rest are currently under a quarter acre, with four fires on the Stevensville Ranger District between Burnt Fork Lake and Willow Mountain. Two fires are between the vermiculite mine and Fool Hen Lake and are being fought.
Crews were sent to four fires on the Darby/Sula Ranger District - a blaze 9 miles up Lost Horse Canyon, and small fires on Benson Creek, Martin Creek and Whiskey Gulch. No structures are threatened.
Fire officials on all area forests are watching the skies. More thunderstorms are expected this week.