Lightning sparks fires in Mission Mountains, other blazes grow

Joshua Murdock

Lightning sparked two new wildfires in the Mission Mountains between St. Ignatius and Seeley Lake on Monday afternoon as hot temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds coalesced to drive fire growth on existing blazes across the region. 

A red-flag warning indicating critical fire weather was issued Tuesday for much of Montana, including the Missoula and Flathead regions. Humidity as low as 10%, sustained winds 10–20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph “and an unstable atmosphere will result in critical fire weather conditions Tuesday afternoon and evening,” according to the National Weather Service. Fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest is extreme, the highest of five levels. Fire danger is very high, the second-highest level, on the Lolo National Forest. Fire danger is extreme on the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho. 

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The Redhorn fire was discovered around 5:47 p.m. Monday, about 7 miles northeast of St. Ignatius and just south of McDonald Lake on the west side of McDonald Peak, in the Tribal Mission Mountain Wilderness. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Division of

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