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Powell Complex Brings Smoke – Bitterroot Fires Are Smoldering

sawtooth ridges
The ridges lining the Sawtooth Canyon are amazing to view…without smoke. (USFS Photo)
Much of the smoke coming into the valley Monday and Tuesday has been from the Powell Complex of wilderness fires on the north end of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The three main fires have burned about 66,000 acres with some group torching.

The NOAA weather satellite sensors show smoke throughout the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. There are still about 50,000 acres of fire burning on the Moose Creek District.

The McGuire Fire in Idaho – near Dixie – is 45 percent contained at 43,602. All areas have been dropped back to Stage 1 Evacuation alerts from Stage 2.

The Porcupine Fire is 37,131 acres and the Magruder Road is still closed between Green Mountain Road on the west and Sabe Saddle on the Nez Perce National Forest boundary toward the east.

The Mustang Fire on the Salmon-Challis National Forest is listed at 340,659 acres with better mapping from an infrared flight.

The Bitterroot National Forest fires are still smoking. The Sawtooth Fire occasionally puts up a column of smoke from the western edge, as it burns farther into the wilderness. Information officer Tod McKay said it is now 65 percent contained at 5,927 acres.

The Moe Fire has not grown much, but interior torching has added to the smoke. The 2,838 Moe Fire has burned about 279 acres on the Bitterroot National Forest and caused the closure of the Rock Creek Rail to Elk Lake.

All fire managers are looking at the weather systems that could be coming to Idaho and Montana, starting this weekend. The weather will be the only thing that will stop the smoke.

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