Lightning from a recent storm started three small fires in the southern end of the Bitterroot Valley. No structures are threatened. The Bitterroot National Forest reported the largest at 10 acres this week. The Balsam fire is 9 miles east of Sula, north of Schultz Saddle. Mainly, water drops are being used because of dangerous standing snags in the area which are preventing direct ground attack. The 1-acre Balsam 2 fire is southwest of the Balsam fire and bucket water drops are being used. The Carmine Fire is 14 miles east of Sula in the Anaconda Pintler Wilderness near Carmine Lake and is 5 acres in size. It is being monitored by authorities.

Officials also reported smoke entering the valley from prescribed fires on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. The smoke is expected to spread through the Blodgett and Mill Creek canyons. More information is at the Bitterroot National Forest Facebook page.