Crews make progress on Highway 37 Fire
Crews working the Highway 37 Fire north of Libby achieved 40 percent containment Thursday, mainly on the southwest corner of the perimeter, with slight growth due to burn out operations.
Total acreage stood at around 70 acres as of Friday and firefighters continued to secure the edges.
Fire officials shifted their focus to safety concerns and managing firefighters’ risk of exposure to asbestos from the nearby superfund site while attempting suppression activities.
Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies continued to control traffic on Highway 37. Travelers were reminded to reduce speeds through the area and watch for falling rocks and debris.
Kootenai Forest was put under Stage 1 fire restrictions this week, prohibiting campfires except within developed recreation sites and smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or within an area with a 3-foot perimeter cleared of all flammable materials.
Motorists were reminded to adjust chains hanging from their vehicles and not to park or drive in dry, grassy areas.
The Highway 37 Fire started July 19 due to discarded smoking material.
In the southeastern corner of the state, the Bacon Rind Fire burning in portions of Yellowstone National Park grew to more than 400 acres on Friday.
Due to hazardous conditions, fire managers did not put firefighters on the ground, but continued to watch for opportunities to engage the fire should it make a run toward Highway 191.
Though smoke remained visible from the highway, the fire was not a threat to the roadway as of Friday morning.
Fire managers began pulling resources off the 1,000-acre Reynolds Lake Fire burning 35 miles southwest of Darby as crews reached 70 percent containment with no further growth.
Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or email@example.com.