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Inaccessible Blaze Growing Southwest of Phillipsburg Requires Three Mile Hike

Photo courtesy of USFS
Photo courtesy of USFS

The lightning storm that hit western Montana last Friday, July 14, triggered a large number of fires, some of which were so far away from roads that firefighters couldn’t combat them effectively. Now, a type three management team is trying to figure out how to fight a growing blaze burning near the wilderness about 20 miles southwest of Phillipsburg.

“We are handling two fires right now, the Whetstone Ridge fire and the Meyers fire, which are close in proximity,” said Fire information Officer Arlee Staley. “It’s pretty hard to get crews in there, there are no roads that go to the fires, there are a couple of old roads that they are clearing out, but right now, firefighters have to hike three miles in just to get to the fire perimeter.”

The fires are at zero containment and will probably be there for quite some time, meanwhile both fires have lots of tress to burn through.

“There are a lot of fuels, there is a lot of dead and downfall, plus a lot of old logging slash on the ground,” Staley said. “The fire on Friday was around 190 acres, but on Sunday the Whetsone Ridge fire was at 371 acres and the Meyers fire was at 79 acres.”

Eight smaller fires in the area were also detected on on Saturday. There is one good piece of news for Missoula, Phillipsburg, Hamilton, and other surrounding towns Staley says, for some reason, the fires aren’t putting out a lot of smoke.

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