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Sawtooth and Other Fires Expecting Weather Change

thank you cards
Some of the “thank you” cards for firefighters from Hamilton’s Washington Elementary School. (Poncin NWIMT Photo)

The Sawtooth Fire west of Hamilton has been smoldering and creeping on the west side of the fire into the wilderness up the Sawtooth Canyon. Some isolating tree torching was also seen there. The fire is 45 percent contained at 5,470 acres, as of the Saturday morning fire report.

The main work today will be mop-up, patrol and monitoring the completed fire lines, mainly on the eastern perimeter. Infrared overflight will help crews find hotspots inside the perimeter.

The Sawtooth Trail, Roaring Lion Trail, Ward Mountain Trail and Canyon Creek Trail remain closed. Evacuation Stage 1 Zone is still in effect, as of Saturday morning.

Managers of all fires to the west in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and south of here on the Mustang Complex are waiting for arrival of a change in the weather. With a weakening of the high pressure that’s been parked over the top of us, some moisture might be coming up from the south and there’s also possible weather from the west. Time will tell.

Heavy smoke Friday hampered firefighters in almost every wildfire report in the region. Hourly air quality from the Ravalli County Courthouse monitor in Hamilton shows “unhealthy” levels Saturday.

Meanwhile, the US Senate has approved another $850 million for fighting wildfires. The US Forest Service and BLM will get $423 million for this year’s costs, and another $429 million for next year.

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