Bitterroot’s Observation Fire Jumped to the East Tuesday
Firefighters were temporarily pulled off the fireline Tuesday afternoon when the Observation forest fire made a rapid unexpected move to the east. There were no injuries. Air tanker support was called in from Missoula (see photo) to help the helicopters, which have dropped over 100,000 gallons of water on the forest fire. The fire is over 300 acres in size on the north edge of Lost Horse canyon 10 miles southwest of Hamilton.
The Bitterroot National Forest and the Ravalli County Sheriff's Office also decided to notify area residents of possible evacuations Tuesday. Officers went door-to-door in the area west of US 93 from Lost Horse to Gold Creek Loop. Undersheriff Steve Holton said he estimated about 200 homes were contacted Tuesday evening.
Stage One Evacuation is a warning that there is a possibility of an evacuation. Stage Two is the evacuation itself. Holton told KLYQ/KGVO news that many residents were already preparing for the possibility.
A Type One incident management team has been ordered for the Observation Fire. The current management team is headquartered at the Darby school. The fire is only 5 percent contained and is burning in steep, rocky terrain.
Fire danger is now "High" in the Bitterroot National Forest.