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Selway Wilderness Fires Continue Growth West of Bitterroot

heron and smoke
A heron fishes at the Metcalf in the smoke-filled evening. (Mike Daniels, Townsquare Media)

KLYQ 1240 AM News continues our daily check of forest fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness that are the source of much of the smoke in Ravalli county.

From the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Thursday, August 10:

The Hidden Fire, about three miles west of the wilderness boundary, has now reached 3,500 acres and is at Hidden Lake and is growing west near Hidden Peak. The fire is burning in dead and downed timber in the “footprint” of the 2007 Bridge Fire.

Near the Moose Creek Ranger Station, the Moose 1 Fire is now at 7,500 acres and more structure protection has been done to Halfway, Meeker and Three Links bridges, and Shissler Lookout.

West of that fire is the 5,500 acre Lone Pine fire, burning in all directions, according to Nez Perce officials. It was active in Grizzly Saddle on the south side of the Selway River.

Farther south in the Red River Ranger District, the Rattlesnake Point Fire has grown to over 3,800 acres and is on the north side of the Salmon River between Rattlesnake Creek and Nixon Creek. The fire is in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and is moving east, causing the Bitterroot National Forest officials to examine long-term management of the blaze as it heads toward Blacky Foster, Lantz Bar and Harrington Mountain.

To the north, the Lolo Peak Fire is at 7,644 acres and a meeting at the Lolo Community Center is at 7 p.m. Thursday evening, August 10. Highway 12 is still open, but motorists are advised to not stop on the roadside to take pictures.

Even farther to the north is the 14,591-acre Sunrise Fire and the Burdette Fire. Those fires have caused evacuations south of Superior. The Lolo National Forest has closed trails and roads accessing Hoodoo Pass, Hoodoo Lake and other areas.

Air quality in the Bitterroot Valley has been hovering in the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” again Thursday. Missoula and Seeley Lake air quality has been “Unhealthy.”

Forest Service officials expect smoke from the Sapphire Complex, Meyers, and other fires to the east will be transported into the valley, too.

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