A small, lightning-caused wilderness blaze, the Moose fire, grew to an estimated 3,000 acres Sunday afternoon, and is responsible for the majority of thick smoke in the Bitterroot Valley coming from three fires burning in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

The Moose fire about 20 miles away, west of Hamilton. It is six miles west of the Bitterroot National Forest boundary, currently burning in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests of Idaho. The other two fires that saw increased burning Sunday were the Cedar Fire to the northwest of the Moose Fire and the Elk Ridge Fire, south of the Moose Fire. Neither of those two fires grew as much as the Moose Fire, according to reports from fire officials to the Ravalli County Commissioners Monday morning.

Mark Wilson, Fire Management Officer on the Bitterroot National Forest said the Moose fire is moving east toward some steep, rocky areas with less fuel to burn.

Meanwhile, Wilson said the conditions are hot and dry in the Bitterroot National Forest, which is in Stage One fire restrictions, along with Ravalli County. He said the "Red Flag" warnings issued this week are for more wind, but not much chance of lightning.

Smoke column of the Moose fire in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, west of Hamilton Sunday. (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)