Ursus fire roars through Bob Marshall Wilderness in Spotted Bear Ranger District

Phil Drake

Two fires northwest of Helena showed little growth Wednesday, and officials said a lightning-caused fire in the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area reported Aug. 25 is now at more than 1,800 acres.

The Ursus fire is burning on the south side of Rapid Creek at the base of Ursus Hill, about 1.5 miles up the Rapid Creek drainage. The fire is on the Spotted Bear Ranger District, the U.S. Forest Service said on Facebook.

Officials said fire activity picked up significantly during the afternoon of Sept. 5. An Infrared Mapping flight reported it at 23 acres at 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 5. By 6 p.m., the fire was estimated at 1,580 acres.

An Infrared Mapping flight estimated the fire at 1,824 acres at 2:43 p.m. on Sept. 6, the U.S. Forest Service said. It is spreading to the east; it has crossed the Continental Divide near Observation Pass and a few spots have been observed on Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest.

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The Ursus fire has reached the 2012 Elbow Pass burn scar, which should act as a buffer to slow the spread, fire officials said.

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