Smoke Continues to Invade Western Montana
Though there is smoke drifting in from Idaho fires, officials of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest are noticing more smoke from large fires in Oregon and Washington. The Idaho fires that are contributing to the Bitterroot Valley's haze are the 418 acre Beaver Fire five miles east of the Powell Ranger Station and the 500-acre Marion Fire, six miles southeast of the Powell Ranger Station. Idaho officials are also monitoring other small lightning-caused fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness including the 106-acre Double Fire on the Moose Creek Ranger District. The Shissler Fire on the Red Reiver District is calm, having burned 2,700 acres.
In Montana, the Cinnabar Fire in the Welcome Creek Wilderness Area east of Stevensville is at 2,124 acres with 252 people on the fireline. Some areas around the fire are closed, but the Rock Creek road corridor and recreation access areas are open in the Lolo National Forest. A hotshot crew cleared a path of fireline to connect the fire's northern and western edges, closest to the Stevensville Ranger District. The Bear Creek Fire (photo above) is at 11,900 acres on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest and local firecrews have taken over management of the fire near Lemhi Pass.
With the long hloiday weekend, Bitterroot National Foreset officials are again urging people to be careful with their campfires. When you leave your campsite, make sure it is out - cold to the touch. With the lack of rain and high temperatures returning, fire danger remains "Very High" in the Bitterroot and Missoula areas.