Roaring Lion Fire Coughing New Smoke
The Roaring Lion Fire appears to be heating up again, pumping more smoke into the Bitterroot. However, Fire information officer Nathan Zalewski says fire managers were expecting more aggressive behavior from the fire.
"This is something that the fire management team has been anticipating since the foretasted change in weather," Zalewski said. "We've got a lot folks out on the line currently, still working the eastern flank, particularly near homes along the perimeter. The majority of the smoke that folks have been seeing is out on the western side of the fire, near the headwaters of the Ward Creek area or the Ward Bowl as we're calling it."
The majority of the smoke is actually coming from small pockets inside the fire that have little hope of expanding through the already burned out terrain.
"We haven't seen any significant growth for about a week now," Zalewski said. "All of the smoke that people are seeing yesterday and today [August 15] is actually a little pocket of fuel, about an acre and a half that's burning. It seems like a lot of smoke, but it's actually a very small chunk of fuel that's burning up out there. We'll continue to see that, although this fire burned very, very aggressively, it did leave pockets of unburned fuel in the interiors.
Firefighters have been using a confinement strategy for fighting the western part of the Roaring Lion Fire where most of the smoke is coming from. With confinement strategy, the fire is allowed to burn naturally away from homes and other structures until it reaches a set of indirect fire lines placed back from the blaze.