Incident: Sawtooth Fire Wildfire
September 2, 2012 1:00PM
Contact: Public Affairs Officer: Tod McKay
Phone: 406-363-7122 Cell: 406-531-1130
What: Wildland Fire
Detected: August 30 - Lightning caused
Location: Approx. 5 miles west of Hamilton - Darby Ranger District
Narrative: The Sawtooth Fire burning on the Darby Ranger District of the Bitterroot National Forest has grown to 310 acres. The lightning caused fire is located five miles west of Hamilton in the Bitterroot Mountains near Downing Mountain. The fire is approx. 2 miles southwest of the Downing Mountain Fire that burned in 2010.
The fire grew yesterday fanned by afternoon winds and the new acreage estimates were confirmed last night with an IR (Infrared) flight. The fire is moving to the west, away from town. The Sawtooth Fire is burning in extremely steep and rugged terrain, on the top of the ridge making it very difficult for firefighters to access on foot.
Current Size: 310 acres Containment: 0%
Resources on Fire: There are currently 2 helicopters using buckets to drop water on the fire today. (2) Twenty person crews have been ordered and will arrive by tomorrow. Crews will work to stop the fire spread and put containment line around the fire's western edge to keep it from reaching heavy fuels and timber.
Terrain: Remote, extremely steep and rugged terrain with heavy fuels. Fire is burning in grass and timber (lodgepole pine) near an Avalanche chute.
Fire Activity: Creeping with some isolated torching
Closures: Trail #123 (Sawtooth Creek) is currently closed due to active wildfire conditions.
Safety Concerns: Safety of firefighters is a primary concern. The fire is remote and burning in steep, rugged terrain with nearby heavy fuels, thereby posing a safety risk to firefighters and a challenge for building conventional fire line. Heavy fuels, difficult access, and the weather are a dangerous combination on this fire. For the latest fire information visit http://www.inciweb.org/.