Due to the ongoing extremely hot and dry weather, fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest has been moved from Moderate to High.
High fire danger means all fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from just causes. Unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape. Fires spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common. High intensity burning may develop on slopes, or in concentrations of fine fuel. Fires may become serious and their control difficult, unless they are hit hard and fast while small.
Forest officials are asking the public to be extremely careful when camping and to remember that it’s your job and responsibility to properly maintain and extinguish all campfires.
The lightning-caused Wapiti Fire is burning in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, 4 miles northeast of Paradise Campground. It was discovered last Friday afternoon, and as of Monday was 21 acres in size with 50% containment.
Thirty wildland firefighters are currently assigned to the fire with one Type 2 helicopter which has been using buckets to drop water on hot spots. The fire is burning in heavy fuel in steep terrain in the wilderness.
One firefighter was transported to the hospital on Sunday and treated for heat-related injuries (dehydration) and was expected to be released on Monday.
Currently, there are no closures in place on the Bitterroot National Forest.
So far this summer, Bitterroot National Forest fire crews have responded to and extinguished 10 wildfires on the forest and in our protection area. Due to quick response of crews, most of the fires were kept under a half acre in size.