The lightning-caused Chrandal Creek fire in the Bitterroot National Forest has exploded from 60 to 1000 acres in less than 24 hours. Forest spokesman Todd McKay says recent lightning storms with high winds caused a dramatic increase in the fire's size and intensity.

The fire is currently burning in steep and rugged terrain near the Montana/Idaho border, 10 miles SE of Painted Rocks Reservoir and 12 miles SW of the Lost Trail Ski Area. The fire is burning on both the Bitterroot and Salmon Challis National Forests, approximately 5 miles east of last summer's Saddle Complex fire. There are currently 125 personnel and 80 firefighters assigned to the fire along with 3 helicopters, a mechanized feller-buncher, excavator, and skidgeon. Snags are a safety concern for fire crews.

Forest spokesman Todd McKay