- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Wind and high temperatures doubled the size of a wildfire burning in southwestern Montana, prompting authorities to pull firefighters from the line and to warn residents in 200 homes to prepare for possible evacuations.

The Ravalli County Sheriff’s Office issued a Stage 1 alert on Tuesday, meaning there is a high probability for evacuations. The largely rural area where the fire is burning in the Bitterroot National Forest includes the Gold Creek and Lost Horse Road areas near Lake Como.

Some 203 homes are affected by the alert, KECI-TV reported.

The lightning-caused fire was discovered Friday about 10 miles southwest of Hamilton. Tuesday’s hot weather and high wind helped double the size of the blaze to just about 1 square mile as of Wednesday morning, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

More than 110 firefighters had to be pulled off the line Tuesday because of the fire’s quick spread through the rugged terrain. The wind grounded at least one helicopter, leaving one fire tanker to drop retardant over the flames. More air tankers were ordered.

Fire crews on Wednesday tried to secure the southern edge of the fire to keep it away from Lost Horse Road. The fire danger was elevated to high as the temperatures continued to rise.

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