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The Air Quality Continues to Slide Downhill with Smoke

previous year smoke
Smoke in the evening. (KLYQ File Photo, Townsquare Media)

Over the weekend, air quality in Hamilton slipped into the “Unhealthy” category and spent much of the time in the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.” Monday afternoon, though the haze prevented any good view of the mountains, the air quality was “Moderate.”

But the weather forecast does not bode well for any change in the amount of smoke drifting into the valley. Hot temperatures will continue, with a slim possibility of thunderstorms in the middle of the week.

Here’s a brief Monday afternoon look at nearby forest fires:

From the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest – the Hidden Fire grew to over 2,815 acres by Sunday, moving closer to Hidden Lake. The fire is about 3 miles west of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness boundary.

Also in the wilderness, the Moose 1 Fire is now at 6,449 acres as of Monday morning, moving up Whistling Pig Creek. The Halfway, Meeker and Three Links bridges have been wrapped and have pumps and hose in place. The Shissler Lookout has been protected.

The Lone Pine fire is now 4,867 acres growing up Meeker Ridge and has been active on the south side of the Selway River. It is west of the Moose 1 fire.

In the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the Rattlesnake Point fire is now at 2,514 acres on the north side of Salmon River between Rattlesnake Creek and Nixon Creek. The Rattlesnake and two other fires are bringing smoke and fire into the Magruder Road area around Bargamin Creek.

Inciweb reports the Lolo Peak Fire is 7,292 acres as of Monday morning.

The Meyers Fire southwest of Philipsburg is the first place the Montana National Guard will go, as part of the statewide fire emergency declared by Governor Bullock. A Chinook helicopter and 15 soldiers will arrive Monday, August 7. The helicopter will be dumping water on the fire.

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