Smoke Lowers Bitterroot Air Quality
Saturday afternoon, July 10, wildfire smoke brought the air quality in Hamilton down to "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups," and it was on the edge of the next stage - "Unhealthy." Fire danger on the Bitterroot National Forest is "Very High."
Much of the smoke is coming from fires west of the Bitterroot Valley in Idaho, including the 12,830-acre Dixie-Jumbo fires. The two wildfires, started by lightning, were at 400 acres Monday and have been growing in all directions since then. The firefighters are continuing to defend structures in the area of the towns of Dixie and Comstock. There are some evacuations in that area, according to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest..
Fire officials are turning their attention to structures on the Salmon River, including the Jim Moore, Yellow Pine, Allison and the Whitewater Ranches. The continuous wind has been pushing the Dixie Fire toward that river. Potential fire spread is to the Payette National Forest on the south side of the Salmon River.
Farther north in Idaho, the Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Zone officials will be implementing "Stage 2 Fire Restrictions" by the end of next week, July 16. That bypasses Stage 1, because the heat wave quickly exceeded that stage. Fire danger on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest is Extreme.
A new Montana fire was reported on the Wisdom Ranger District of the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest. The lightning-caused Trail Creek Fire is estimated at over 400 acres and 4 engines and 2 helicopters, along with attack teams are responding. The fire is southeast of the Bitterroot Valley.
And the Lolo National Forest has updated information on the Brewster Fire east of Rock Creek, eight miles south of I-90. It is now 120 acres and is growing to the north and northwest. Helicopters are assisting ground crews on the Brewster Fire. Rock Creek Road is NOT closed, but a portion of Brewster Creek Road is closed and Slid Rock Loop Road is closed. The public is asked to not stop on the area roads, to allow fire traffic passage.