Forest Service crews are jumping to take advantage of the last dry weather as they set off a few more prescribed burns to cut the risk of wildfire. 

Both Lolo National Forest and Bitterroot National Forest were igniting burns Wednesday, continuing into Thursday as long as the weather conditions remained favorable. 

On the Lolo National Forest, crews were burning up to 250 acres in the Marshall Woods northeast of Missoula, another burn up Nine Mile, and two fires near the Double Arrow Subdivision in Seeley Lake. One of those encompassing 60 acres will be burned on Friday. 

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For the Bitterroot National Forest, crews were planning to burn on the Nez Peace Fork of the Bitterroot west of Watchtower Creek. That wasn't expected to impact the use of the Fales Flat Campground or the Magruder Corridor Road. Smoke from that fire could be seen from Sula, Darby, and Hamilton. 

Late in the day Thursday, smoke from another prescribed burn around Moose Butte, and Gorman Hill, which is just west of Lolo Pass in Idaho, could be seen rising from the southwest of Missoula. That fire will burn up to 1000 acres. But crews expected the smoke to dissipate quickly in the current weather conditions. 

All the fires are being set as the Forest Service takes advantage of these unusually dry conditions to ignite fires that would otherwise not have burned this year. In all cases, the prescribed burns are designed to remove brush and "ladder fuels" that can allow a wildfire to climb into the tops of the trees, resulting in fast-moving crown fires. The fires also help improve wildlife habitat and help with forest health. 

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