HAMILTON - The Bowles Creek Fire west of Skalkaho Pass has grown from 4,481 acres to 6,847 acres with containment increasing to 20% as of Friday, Aug. 18, 2023.
Fire managers report the increase includes fire growth from the last two days after the blaze was mapped by an infra-red flight on Thursday night.
The blaze remains very active on the northeast perimeter and is approaching areas that may affect Skalkaho Road. People planning to use Skalkaho Road should check for updates to make sure the road remains open.
While the Skalkaho Road remains open, motorists should drive with extreme caution due to smoke impacts, as well as the increased presence of fire personnel on the road.
The fire has spread on the south perimeter across Railroad Creek. The blaze was active Thursday and may continue to increase today, according to the latest update. Firefighters observed flanking, group tree torching, and spotting.
There are 179 people assigned to the blaze along with six engines and two helicopters.
The fire — which was sparked by lightning on July 20, 2023 — is burning 27 miles southwest of Philipsburg.
The Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and Bitterroot National Forest have issued an emergency closure of roads and trails in the fire area.
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