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No Rain and Large Forest Fires Equals Lots of Smoke

smoke october 10
At 2 p.m. Oct. 10, east of Victor along the East Side Highway, the smoke hides the mountains and shrouds the trees. (KLYQ Photo)
The hourly air quality report at the Ravalli County Courthouse particulate count monitor Wednesday dipped back into the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups,” and the 8-hour and 24-hour cumulative readings were back into the “Unhealthy” levels.

The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is full of smoke from fires on the Moose Creek Ranger District, the Powell Complex, the Porcupine Complex and the McGuire forest fire. And the wind brings it right into the Bitterroot and Missoula valleys.

A fire official at the Powell Complex said no rain had been seen in that area since mid-July. Hamilton is entering 50 days without appreciable rainfall. And the fires continue to burn.

The Powell Complex, over 66,000 acres, has had some moderate activity with even a crown run or two. Crews are patrolling the Fish Lake airstrip and Elk Summit. The smoke in the Highway 12 corridor is thick at times. Drive carefully.

The Porcupine Complex is now 37,131 acres and the Magruder Road remains closed between Green Mountain and Sabe Saddle. There are dangerous burned snags and damaged road surfaces.

The McGuire Fire near Dixie is at 43,557 and helicopters continue water drops on hot spots.

Forecasters are expecting a general change in the weather, starting Saturday.

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