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Forest Fires Keep Smokin’ – August 17 Update

Mustang smoke
Smoke on the Salmon River. (USFS Photo)
The Bitterroot National Forest moves to Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Saturday morning, which means no campfires on the forest, except in Forest Service campgrounds in Forest Service-built fire rings. Fire danger remains Very High.

No new fires reported on the Bitterroot, according to Betsy Ballard. And the Maverick fire and the Bear Overlook fire have been put out. Seven lightning caused fires remain burning up the West Fork in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

Smoke in the valley continues to come mainly from Idaho fires and fires in other states.

In Idaho, The managers of the Mustang Complex of fires are keeping the Salmon River road open to quite a few people.

That includes:

  • Colson Creek residents
  • jet boaters leaving Corn Creek
  • Middle Fork river rafters taking out at Stoddard, Cache Bar and Corn Creek.

    Firefighters have been working on the fire’s south flank between Owl Creek and Cove Creek Bridge. The fire grew to 79,807 acres Thursday, moving east toward Spring Creek Road and northeast toward the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana.

    There has been structure protection work around Salmon River homes and businesses. So far, no residents or firefighters have been injured as the fire continues to grow.

    Farther south in Idaho, the Halstead Fire is now listed at 83,800 acres. A 24-hour evacuation notice was issued from Sunbeam Store to Custer town and Jordan Creek to Loon Creek summit. The fire is moving down East Basin Creek with large columns of smoke above the fire Thursday. Lower Stanley and Stanley are NOT evacuated.

    Highways 75 and 21 remain open.

    Closed campgrounds around the Halstead Fire: Beaver Creek, Lola Creek, Marsh Creek Transfer, Josephus Lake, Bench, Banner, Park City, Elk Creek, Sheep Trail, Trap Creek, Vader Creek, Thatcher Creek, and campgrounds along the Salmon River from Lower Stanley to Thompson Creek.

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