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Sawtooth Fire – Smoke Continues

The 5,000 acre Sawtooth Fire is now over 40 percent contained, with fire managers satisfied on the critical eastern edge – which is nearest private property and over 400 homes. The objectives for that part of the fire have been reached and night patrols will be ending, unless the weather causes a different five behavior.

Stage 1 Warnings are still in effect for the neighborhood west of Hamilton and residents need to be ready to evacuate if conditions change.

Meanwhile, crews are working inside the fire perimeter to try to cut down on the smoke production from some of the blazes on the interior of the Sawtooth Fire. Concern remains for the south edge of the fire – with helicopters and crews working to keep it from spreading south into the Roaring Lion drainage (see photo). And on the north edge, crews are working on the ground to limit the fire’s spread into Barley Creek in the Canyon Creek drainage. The recent acreage gains for the fire have been to the west, away from the Bitterroot Valley.

A public meeting will be held Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Hamilton’s City Hall on South 2nd Street, where fire managers will detail the fight and provide information about the future of the Sawtooth Fire.

The trail closures remain in effect and the Stage 1 Evacuation Zones are unchanged.

Other Fires
The 23,800 acre Porcupine Complex of fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness has caused the closure of the Magruder Road. The wilderness route between Elk City, Idaho, and the West Fork of the Bitterroot National Forest is closed (from the Montana side) at Observation Point. It is closed from Observation Point to Sabe Saddle.

The Mustang Complex of fires on the Salmon-Challis National Forest is over 327,000 acres and officials say the smoke inversion is making it even more risky for travelers on US 93. Use extreme caution from Lost Trail Pass to North Fork, Idaho.

And, in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness there are currently 10 wilderness fires on the West Fork Ranger District burning about 20,000 acres. If you’re heading out, check with the Forest Service for the latest details.

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