Bitterroot National Forest firefighters are still working on a 3 acre blaze that started yesterday afternoon after someone walked away from a smoldering campfire and it quickly escaped a rock fire ring and spread to nearby grass and trees. The fire was discovered around 2:30 p.m. near a dispersed campsite off Lick Creek Road #5621, approximately two miles north of Lake Como. The fire was started well beyond the dispersed campsite in the trees. The campsite is located at the top of the pass between Lick Creek and Lost Horse.
There are currently 12 firefighters and 3 engines on the fire and two helicopters dropped buckets of water on it yesterday to keep it from spreading. This is the fourth abandoned campfire discovered on the Forest in three days.
When fire crews arrived on scene yesterday they found candy wrappers and other trash strewn around the make-shift fire pit.
The Bitterroot National Forest is asking for the public’s help in locating whoever was responsible for yesterday’s abandoned campfire. Leaving a fire without completely extinguishing it on Forest Service lands is prohibited and violators face substantial fines and potentially paying fire suppression costs – which can easily run into the thousands.
Anyone with information about yesterday’s abandoned campfire is encouraged to call 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668) or Crime Stoppers of Ravalli County at (406) 363-0062.
Conditions on the Bitterroot National Forest are extremely dry and the potential for fire spread is very high. This Saturday, August 18th at 12:01 a.m., the Forest is implementing Stage 1 Fire Restrictions which limit campfires to Forest-provided fire rings within designated campgrounds or recreation areas. Campfires will not be permitted at dispersed camping sites that do not have a Forest-provided fire ring. Smoking is also prohibited, unless within an enclosed vehicle or building.
For a list of all designated campgrounds and recreation sites, visit the Forest website at www.fs.usda.gov/bitterroot