Two wildfires fires burning north and south of Missoula saw little growth this weekend.
The Reynolds Lake Fire remains at 1,068 acres, and is burning on the border of the Bitterroot and Salmon-Challis national forests about 35 miles southwest of Darby. The fire was reported on July 17 and is thought to be caused by lightning.
About 240 people are working on the blaze, and have dug hand lines around about 70 percent of the fire, which is burning in heavy timber with numerous snags. Helicopters are assisting, having dropped more than 459,000 gallons of water. Air tankers have dropped 81,000 gallons of retardant to help slow the fire’s spread.
The fire is 15 percent contained, and fire managers are trying to fully suppress it.
The Highway 37 Fire near Libby grew by five acres overnight to 51 acres. Special precautions continue because of the fire’s location near the W.R. Grace vermiculite mining site, which is contaminated with asbestos.
Officials suspect that the Highway 37 fire was started by discarded smoking material, and the investigation is ongoing. The bulk of the fire’s growth is toward Highway 37.
Crews are continuing to reinforce fire lines, and air resources are available to support suppression activities if needed.
As of Saturday, the Zulu Fire in the Yaak measured about 20 acres and was considered 70 percent contained.