West Alder Fire grows to over 65 acres


MISSOULA, Mont. - The following press release was sent out by Boyd Hartwig, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

The West Alder Fire had little growth yesterday as the fire moved slightly northwest into new pockets of fuel. The current fire size is estimated at 65 acres. The fire is burning on mid and upper slopes within scattered timber and rocky scree. Firefighters yesterday began construction of fireline on the north end of the fire using an excavator. They will continue to build line to the east and west today. A Hotshot crew has been assigned and will begin work on the fire today. They will be scouting locations for further fireline construction. Fire managers will utilize aircraft today as needed. A weather pattern that is expected to bring higher humidity and a greater chance of rain will move through the area today. This system may also bring more lightning. No structures, people or property are currently threatened by this fire. Fire managers continue to utilize natural barriers such as rocky outcroppings and scree slopes to contain the fire. Steep terrain and rolling debris such as rocks and logs remain a safety hazard for firefighters. An area closure has been signed for public and firefighter safety. The west boundary is FS Trail 313 which is closed from its north junction with FS Trail 233 (Wahlquist Trail) south to Sawmill Saddle. South of Sawmill Saddle Trail 313 remains open. The general east boundary of the closure is Rock Creek Road, which remains open. Bitterroot Flat Campground remains open.