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Sawtooth Fire – Monday September 17 Update

Downing Mountain Lodge
The Downing Mountain Lodge escaped the flames. (Bitterroot National Forest Photo)

The Sawtooth forest fire has burned 4,869 acres as of Monday morning and is now 30 percent contained.

 

The fire moved west generally Sunday, farther into the wilderness in Sawtooth Canyon. There was some spotting across Sawtooth Creek to the south. Today, there may be some flareups inside the fire perimeter, but the eastern edge of the fire – near area homes – has been dormant for a few days, due to work by fire crews and dozer lines.

Helicopters will be flying again today, dropping water on hot spots.

During the initial days of the fire, rumors were flying about the Downing Mountain Lodge, formerly the Grubstake Restaurant. It did not burn, though the fire was very close (see photo). The transmission towers also survived, but fire burned even closer than at the Lodge.

The Stage 1 Evacuation Warnings are still in effect, with residents alerted to possible evacuation in the area of the Sawtooth Fire. Residents are also asked to not bring livestock back into the Stage 1 areas, and to not bring in large trailers of other large vehicles that might impede firefighters response.

Sawtooth Trail, Roaring Lion Trail, Ward Mountain Trail, Canyon Creek Trail and Blodgett Campground are closed due to fire activities.

Mustang Fire
The 323,893 acre Mustang fire crossed Highway 93 this weekend and burned over 157 acres on the east side. It has moved closer to the Beaverhead-Deer Lodge National Forest. Travelers on US 93 should be cautious and drive with headlights on, due to thick smoke at times and fire traffic. Pilot cars have been used at times through the weekend.

On the northern edge of the Mustang Fire, the Hughes Creek Road homes south of Painted Rocks Reservoir remain on Stage 1 Alert.

McGuire Fire
The McGuire Fire grew this weekend to 33,161 acres and has jumped road 222. Residents of evacuated Dixie, Idaho, are being allowed in for an hour each day. Other roads in the area south of Elk City are closed or have limited access.

Powell Complex
Travelers on Highway 12 on the Idaho side of Lolo Pass should drive with headlights on and expect heavy smoke at times.

Just to emphasize the dry conditions in the Northwest US, I bring you this. A fire started Sunday in Wyoming. It’s called the Chall Creek fire and is 25 miles northwest of Daniel Junction, Wyoming. The fire started at 2 p.m. Sunday. In the Monday morning report, the fire was 200 acres in size. So, remember, no campfires in the woods, and if you see smoke in an unexpected place, report it.

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