Two separate wildfires were discovered in the Nine Mile area west of Missoula and near Clinton, east of Missoula on Thursday.

Lolo National Forest Spokesman Boyd Hartwig said the fire in the Nine Mile area was lightning caused.

"It looks like it's a lightning holdover about three miles west of the Stark Lookout, which is to the west of the main Nine Mile drainage," Hartwig said. "It looks like it's about seven and a half acres right now. No structures are threatened and it's a rugged, remote area."

Hartwig described the efforts to fight the small wildfire.

"We had a couple of helicopters on it today and there's a 20 person hand crew up there, so they'll stay overnight and they'll continue to work that fire tomorrow," he said. "From that lightning storm a couple of days ago we had about 10 small fires."

Hartwig said a potentially much more serious fire broke out east of Missoula near Clinton, just off I-90.

"This fire was in the Schwartz Creek area, and was close to some structures," Hartwig said. "Missoula Rural and Lolo volunteer firefighters were able to get to that one and contain it before it got big, or else that could have been a difficult fire."

The fire near Clinton was estimated to be about three to four acres in size.

Lolo National Forest Spokesman Boyd Hartwig


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