A quick overview of the fires west of the Bitterroot Valley at 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon shows thousands of acres in three lightning-caused fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness sending smoke into the valley.

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest reports the Moose 1 fire near the Moose Creek Ranger Station has grown to over 4,098 acres, moving toward Trout Peak. the Shissler Lookout has been evacuated.

To the west of the Moose 1 Fire is the Lone Pine Fire, south of the Selway River in the wilderness, which has grown to 2,626 acres. It's been burning since July 14, but has been more active lately.

Then, northeast of those fires, about 4 miles inside the eastern Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness boundary is the Hidden fire, last measured at 549 acres. It is seven miles northeast of the Elk Summit Guard Station and put up a column of smoke visible from the Bitterroot Valley Tuesday afternoon. It's been burning since July 10, according the Nez Perce Forest officials, but doubled in size Tuesday afternoon.

Other Fires
On the north end of the valley is the 6,302-acre Lolo Peak Fire, which has crossed Lantern Ridge and is visible from Highway 12. Law agencies are requesting motorists to NOT stop on the road shoulders to take photos. Highway 12 remains open. A public meeting is scheduled Thursday, August 3, at 7 p.m. in the Florence Bapdist Church, 5561 Old Highway 93.

The Rice Ridge Fire at 7,000 in the area of Seeley Lake is a high priority fire.

Tuesday afternoon's size of the Sunrise fire south of Superior is 10,800 acres. Evacuations are in place.

The Whetstone and Meyers fires south of Philipsburg have burned together and the incident is now called the Whetstone Ridge Fire at 11,593 acres. Evacuations were ordered for Frog Pond and Copper Creek Campgrounds and Moose Lake. A public meeting is scheduled Wednesday, August 2, at 7 p.m. in the Granite High School cafeteria.

Those forest fire acreages will most likely be higher Thursday morning, following the Wednesday afternoon burning.

Air quality in Hamilton is "Hazardous for Sensitive Groups."

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