The winds were blowing and the temperature began to rise Friday in the Bitterroot Valley.
Fire managers watched their forest fires begin to come back to life by the afternoon. And with the forecast for temperatures back into the 90s by late next week, the chances of fire growth are good.
The closest fire to Hamilton is the 41 Complex about 10 miles east of town in the Sapphire Mountains in the Bitterroot National Forest. The fire is over 1,000 acres and has been moving east into some heavy downfall. Areas around the fire have been closed, to the dismay of some bow hunters, whose season opens this weekend. They are asked to check with the Forest Service about closed areas before heading out.
About 25 miles northeast of Darby is the Fox Peak Fire, which at last report was over 250 acres.
In the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, three fires will be pumping smoke into the valley. The northernmost fire is the Liz Butte Fire, still relatively small at about 300 acres, west of Castle Butte. The Otter Fire, in the wilderness directly west of Como Lake, is at 1,425 acres, and the largest fire at 4,700 acres is the East Fork Fire is in the Meadow Creek area in the south end of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
At the south end of the valley, the Saddle Complex remains at about 26,000 acres with very little growth through Friday morning. Crews have been strengthening fire lines on the portions of the fire that could endanger homes in the Hughes Creek area.
You can keep up with the fires by going to