Three new forest fires erupted in Idaho and Montana as more than 4,000 firefighters struggled to contain fires raging through 80,000 acres of timber and brush in four western states.
The 150-acre Quartz Creek blaze, discovered Friday night 55 miles east of St. Maries, Idaho, was "burning hot and rolling in steep, rugged country." the Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported.
But the center's biggest worry is still the Mortar Creek fire where 2,000 firefighters concentrated on two hot spots in the two-week-old central Idaho mountain blaze that has consumed some 57,000 acres.
The other two new fires were both reported near Missoula, Mont. - The Grant Creek fire 12 miles northwest of Missoula and the Red Shade Creek fire on the north fork of the Sun River 60 miles northeast of Missoula.
Also burning out of control in the rugged central Idaho mountains was the Ship Island fire, which killed a man July 26. Fire bosses say they have only 2,000 feet to go to complete a fire line around the 10,500-acre blaze, but they have set no date for containment.
Firefighters hope to contain the 1,200-acre Kennally Creek fire in Idaho's Payette National Forest today. That fire, fought by 185 men 15 miles east of McCall, has spread at 200 acres a day.