A wildfire reported yesterday afternoon is challenging firefighters due to its relative inaccessibility, beetle-killed timber, and an inbound storm which could bring thunderstorms, lightning, and wind. The Wet Cottonwood Fire is burning along Wet Cottonwood Creek in a Bureau of Land Management wilderness study area. The lightning-caused fire was estimated at 25 acres, but the remote location, fuel type, and current and predicted weather were a worry to fire managers. There are 3 helicopters working on the fire, 2 hotshot crews, the Montana State Prison 20-man crew, and 10 smokejumpers.

Air tankers dropped retardant on the blaze yesterday, trying to knock it down ahead of the ground forces. Helicopters have been dropping buckets of water on it most of the day, dipping out of Nevada Reservoir. Roughly 80 people are working on the fire. The Wet Cottonwood Fire is roughly 15 miles north of Garrison Junction. Fire personnel are accessing the fire via Brock Creek Road. In addition, there is timber harvest occurring in the area, with log trucks traveling the road as well. The public is asked to avoid unnecessary travel along Brock Creek Road and, if traveling, use headlights and slow down in anticipation of fire and/or logging-related traffic.

Fire Information Officer Paula Short