Smoke from Moose Creek 1 Fire Invades Bitterroot Valley
The Moose Creek 1 forest fire burned actively Friday afternoon, July 21, and sent a significant amount of smoke into the Bitterroot Valley during the late afternoon.
The last size estimate of the fire in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness was reported by Inciweb was 700 acres. That was before Friday afternoon's burning. The fire is near the Moose Creek Ranger Station, which has been wrapped and sprinklers added for fire protection.
The smoke entered the valley in the Hamilton area, with much of it coming through the Roaring Lion and Sawtooth canyons. Residents mistakenly thought a new fire had started where last year's Roaring Lion Fire had burned. The Ravalli County Sheriff's Office notified the public that the smoke was from the Idaho fire.
Air quality through early Saturday morning in Hamilton was at the Moderate level. Those reports are linked at klyq.com, on our navigation bar.
In the Bitterroot Valley, Tod McKay of the Bitterroot National Forest reported the Dominic Butte Fire, east of Corvallis near Willow Mountain, is now at 55 acres, with growth to the north and east.
The Dominic Butte Fire started by lightning this past week and retardant and water drops have slowed its progress, along with the work of 80 firefighters, three engines, two water tenders and a dozer. McKay said the fire is burning in heavy timber and brush. Fire crews are working to keep the fire north of Willow Mountain Road, west of Willow Lookout and and east of Deep Creek.
Willow Creek Road, Willow Creek Trail, Gleason Lake Trail and Burnt Fork Lake are closed to the public until further notice.
By the way, five air tankers dumped over 11,000 gallons of retardant on the fire and the helicopters have added over 63,000 gallons of water drops.
In the Darby/Sula Ranger District, the lightning caused Tin Cup Fire at the head of Tin Cup drainage was reported at 5 acres as of Friday, July 21. A helicopter has been dropping water on that fire and 10 firefighters, including 8 smokejumpers, are at the scene. Tin Cup Trail is closed.
The Martin Creek Fire was put out before it grew over a tenth of an acre. It was lightning caused, too.
The White Cap and Vance Mountain fires are on the West Fork District in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, 3 miles west of Tin Cup Lake. They are being monitored.
Elsewhere, the Goat Creek Fire at Rock Creek on the Lolo National Forest is at 968 acres as of Saturday morning. Evacuations are in place. The Craig Mountain Complex south of Lewiston, Idaho, has grown to over 39,900 acres in an area of brush, grass and timber.