Montana and Idaho wildfires continue expansion

The central Idaho Sharps wildfire grew to 100 square miles on Saturday, reports the Seattle Times, advancing into remote, mountainous terrain as nearly 500 firefighters battled the fire about 6 miles east of Bellevue, Idaho. Authorities say the wildfire’s transition into more remote areas means aircraft and firefighters on foot will be used rather than fire engines and bulldozers.

The fire is 43 percent contained, with full containment expected by Aug. 12.

Authorities say the fire was started by a Bellevue man shooting exploding targets. He could be held responsible for the cost of fighting the fire, which reached $2 million on Friday.

On Saturday, afternoon, officials from the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in Montana said that two of three fires have grown in size and have been zero percent contained, though crews are battling both blazes, reports the Montana Standard.

Virginia Creek Fire: The lightning-caused Virginia Creek Fire, 5 miles west of McAllister, grew to 35 acres in size and was zero percent contained as of Saturday afternoon.

Goldstone Fire: The lightning-caused Goldstone Fire, which was first detected Aug. 2 at approximately 6:30 p.m., has grown to 27 acres and is zero percent contained. The Goldstone Fire is located approximately 5 miles west of Reservoir Lake near Goldstone Pass in the Bitterroot Mountains, near the Montana-Idaho border.

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