The Sawtooth Fire burning on the Darby Ranger District of the Bitterroot National Forest has grown to 310 acres. The lightning caused fire is located five miles west of Hamilton in the Bitterroot Mountains near Downing Mountain. The fire is approx. 2 miles southwest of the Downing Mountain Fire that burned in 2010.

The fire grew yesterday fanned by afternoon winds and the new acreage estimates were confirmed last night with an IR (Infrared) flight. The fire is moving to the west, away from town. The Sawtooth Fire is burning in extremely steep and rugged terrain, on the top of the ridge making it very difficult for firefighters to access on foot. Helicopters are dropping water on the fire, since the terrain is too steep and rugged for firefighters.

Bitterroot National Forest spokesman Tod McKay says the Sawtooth Fire is not responsible for the heavy smoke in the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys over the holiday weekend. He says the Powell Complex and Mustang Complex fires burning in Idaho are the source of most of the smoke. Those fires are resisting containment at this time.

Bitterroot National Forest spokesman Tod McKay