The Rain Helped – Sept 17
With Thursday's rain, not much movement from the Up Top Fire in the 41 Complex on the east side of the Bitterroot Valley in the Sapphire Mountains. Crews continued to work on the west side of the fire, working at least 100 feet inside the fire perimeter. In other places "mop up" is being done. Along the southwest portion, a line has been completed all the way to the Skalkaho Highway, which remains closed.
Crews cleared a good deal of the rocks and trees from the road, but the Skalkaho Highway will remained closed until the mountainsides along the road stabilize. The danger of rolling rocks and falling snags is too great to open it.
Part of the Coyote Meadows closure has been lifted. About 2 and half miles of the Skalkaho-Rye Road is open, along with Two Bear Meadows, God's Little Acre Meadows and some areas east of Trail #87, though that Trail remains closed.
The Fox Peak Fire closure has been rescinded, which re-opens areas south of Signal Rock, including trails #313 and #503. Check with the Bitterroot National Forest before you head out to the area.
The bad news - with hot, dry conditions expected by Sept 21, smoke may return to the valley.
Meanwhile, west of the valley in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, the Storms Complex is now about 4,500 acres. It is 7 miles west of St Mary's Peak.