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As Expected, Flames Come Back – Sept 24

skalkaho falls
Skalkaho Falls, last week. (USFS Photo)

The Up Top Fire in the 41 Complex of forest fires 8 miles east of Hamilton has begun to “boil” again, with temperatures back into the 80s in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, according to Bitterroot National Forest information officer Tod McKay.
The good news is the fire is moving to the east, away from private land, and the western lines that have been dug and improved over the last week have held.
The bad news is the fire is burning along both sides of the Skalkaho Highway, keeping that road closed. Also, Railroad Creek Road has been closed again. It has been open for a few days this week when the fire was not active.
Two fires farther south in the Sapphire Mountains – Coyote Meadows and Fox Peak – have not been active, which has led to reopening the Skalkaho-Rye Road – a forest road that connects the Skalkaho Highway with points south.
Crews installed a 5,000-gallon water tank on Skalkaho Highway for helicopters to use as they dump more water on the fire edges. Smoke in the valley is expected to increase until another cold front comes through, possibly next week.

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