Wilderness Fire Smoke Clobbers Bitterroot Valley
Growth in all directions for the wilderness fires was reported by the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Friday.
No new estimate on the Hidden Fire, about 3 miles west of the wilderness boundary. Nez Perce officials said it was larger than yesterday's estimate of 3,500 acres. Bitterroot National Forest and Nez Perce-Clearwater teams are working on the long-term strategy for the Hidden Fire.
The Moose 1 Fire, near the Moose Creek Ranger Station in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness west of Hamilton is now estimated at 7,758 acres, adding over 500 acres to its size. Structure protection is continuing in the area.
The Lone Pine Fire, south of the Selway River, is at 5,648 acres and has now spotted over to the north side of the river, near Puzzle Point. Nearby, the Mink Peak fire is slightly larger at 764 acres, with growth on all sides.
To the southeast of those fires, the Fry Pan fire has reached 100 acres in size in Fry Pan Creek.
In the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the Rattlesnake Point Fire has burned 3,810 acres between Rattlesnake Creek and Nixon Creek on the north side of the Salmon River. That fire is moving east toward the Bitterroot National Forest. Smoke and fire will be present in the Magruder Road corridor near Bargamin Creek.
The Lolo Peak Fire was at 7,644 acres at last report.
Elsewhere, new fires were started by isolated thundershowers Thursday . Fires on the east side of Flathead Lake were being attacked Friday.
Air quality was worse for Western Montana Friday. Missoula, Frenchtown and Seeley Lake were reporting "Unhealthy" in the afternoon. Hamilton, Dillon and Butte had levels that were "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups."