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Sawtooth Fire Heads West – Moe Fire Comes East

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As seen in this photo from the weekend, the Sawtooth Fire continues to burn toward the west in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. (USFS Photo)
The Sawtooth Fire may send some smoke into the Bitterroot valley as the western edge continues to burn in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Crews are mopping up firelines and two helicopters continue to drop water on hot spots on remote sections along the Sawtooth Canyon south ridge. So far, helicopters have dropped almost 2 million gallons of water on the fire and over 31,000 gallons of retardant.

The Moe Fire

The 2,500-acre Moe Fire has burned onto the Bitterroot National Forest.

That lightning caused fire has been burning in the wilderness on the Nez Perce National Forest and, though still in the wilderness, now has burned about 250 acres on the Bitterroot National Forest, 10 miles west of Lake Como.

The fire is in remote, steep terrain and there is no threat to structures or private property. It is burning between Grizzly and Elk Lakes.

But, because of the fire’s activity, the Rock Creek Trail #580 has been closed. The Lake Como Loop Trail remains open. Signs are posted at trail locations.

Fire managers are expecting old fire scars to limit the growth of the Moe fire. Winds this week will cause more burning, with smoke visible from the valley floor.

Other Fires

The Mustang Complex is listed at 339,110 acres and all “hard” road closures should be lifted Wednesday. Travelers should be aware of smoldering logs, falling trees and rolling debris. Evacuation orders for Hughes Creek and the Alta area on the Bitterroot National Forest were lifted Monday evening. The Mustang fire is 50% contained.

The Powell Complex of fires, on the northern end of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness has burned over 60,000 acres and of the fires in that complex, the Fern Fire in the Storm Creek drainage has been active. A night shift will patrol the Fern Fire to monitor the increasing burning. That smoke, of course, is drifting east into Western Montana.

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