- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

An evacuation order was lifted Tuesday in the area of a 10-acre fire near Lincoln that damaged a cabin and a vehicle, Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said.

The evacuation order was issued Monday afternoon, and residents of about a dozen cabins fled. The order was lifted at 11 a.m., Dutton told the Independent Record (https://bit.ly/29ujxar ).

Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the Elk Trail Loop fire, which started in an area where a road enters a small subdivision. It also damaged four outbuildings.

Meanwhile, fire managers at a 2.2-square mile blaze in the Bitterroot Valley had the luxury of not competing for crews because of a lack of major wildfires in the Northwest. The Observation fire, about 10 miles southwest of Hamilton, was 20 percent contained Tuesday morning.

Nearly 600 people are helping battle the blaze. They also have nine helicopters and support from retardant bombers based in Missoula, fire information officer Ann Rys-Sikora said.

Crews rappelled from helicopters into a rugged area on the eastern side of the fire Monday and cleared trees to create a camp, a safety zone and a spot to land helicopters, Rys-Sikora said. Hotshot crews were going to use the camp as a base to begin working the western side of the fire Tuesday.

“We have a lot of unburned fuel mixed in with burned fuel, which makes it really messy,” she said.

Fire mangers are expecting less wind Tuesday and rain later in the week, which may ease the concerns of Darby-area residents who have been warned to be prepared to evacuate. Lightning started the fire June 24.

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