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Fire crews jump on Libby area wild fires

by SCOTT SHINDLEDECKER
The Western News | August 8, 2023 12:30 PM

The skies above Libby were filled with helicopters Monday evening with lightning strikes in Lincoln County spawning 11 new fires.

According to the Kootenai National Forest, seven new fires began on the Libby Ranger District, two on the Rexford Ranger District, one on the Three Rivers Ranger District and one on the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.

Forest officials said all fires remained under one-half of an acre with the majority now contained and crews continuing with line construction and mopping up.

Fire crews continued to respond to more smoke reports on Tuesday and more fires are anticipated due to lightning storms passing through the area.

Officials say people who see smoke or a fire should call 911.

Weather forecasters say there is a 20% chance of rain between noon and midnight Wednesday. Conditions are also expected to be windy through Thursday.

Beyond that, day-time high temperatures across Lincoln County are expected to rise into the mid-90s by Monday. Lows will remain between the mid-40s and 50.

According to state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Northwest Land Office, a new fire started north of the Gravel Pit Fire.

Crews responded to the Fritz Mountain Fire with helicopters aiding in the suppression with water bucket drops to minimize growth.

The storm also brought rain to the area, which fire managers described as beneficial.

The biggest fire on the Kootenai National Forest is the East Fork Fire on the Fortine Ranger District.

It’s listed at 1,376 acres, but rain on Monday helped slow the growth over the past two days. For more information, visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident.../mtknf-east-fork-fire

For a list of current fires, please visit https://www.wildwebe.net/?dc_name=MTKDC.

The fire danger remains at extreme and stage 2 restrictions remain in place.

Also, the Kootenai National Forest can be reached at 293-6211 and 283-7635. To report a wildfire, call 911.

photo

Smoke from one of a few fires on Swede Mountain on Monday evening, Aug. 7. (Scott Shindledecker/The Western News)