The views of the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains are being obscured by smoke, an annual event,  it seems,  for August in the valley.

This time, much of the smoke has been coming from the south, with prevailing winds that are also bringing some of our biggest thunderstorms this summer.

To the south of us are fires in the national forests. For instance, the largest is the Halstead Fire, near Stanley, Idaho.

It has grown to over 34,000 acres and has put up a lot of smoke (see photo) from the beetle-killed timber in its path. The fire has not caused a lot of trail or recreation closures yet, but the potential is there. The Middle Fork of the Salmon River is still open, and the highways and towns are open.

Weather systems will come through in the next weeks, and will probably clear out the smoke for a while, but fire season is here and "smoke season" is tagging along.