Idaho, Montana forest fires heating up

At the end of the season, forest fires are finally breaking out in Idaho and Montana-

It’s not like recent years when 500,000 to over a million acres burned, but some of these fires are now over 1000 acres. Range fires too continue to break out after every passing lightning storm.

Saddle Complex fire spreads into Montana (from Idaho). Missoulian, and Wildfire pours smoke into the Bitterroot. fire is being managed to let it improve the forest because the area where it burns has not had a fire for over a hundred years.

Three fires in or near the Bob Marshall Wilderness. By Gwen Florio. Missoulian. One is near Big Salmon Lake, a popular large lake just off the South Fork of the Flathead where insects have killed many of the trees in recent years.



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  1. Nancy Avatar

    The smoke blew into my little area of southwest Montana last night with little warning, out playing with the dogs and an hour later the whole area was socked in. Had me on the phone calling neighbors to find out where the fire was. No one had a clue. Shut all the windows last night (which is hard to do when its 88 degress out) and hoped the temps cooled down by morning.

    Morning brought little relief from the smoke but by afternoon it had cleared out abit although there’s still an obvious haze hanging over the hills this evening…..

    1. WM Avatar


      Come on, now, relish the experience. Wildfire and all its eventual benefits are natural processes, that encourage ecosystem renewal. What’s a night with the windows closed in the high 80’s? LOL

  2. Mike Avatar

    I just left Montana. The Bitterroot and Missoula were a mess. Terrible air quality. The mountains bordering Yellowstone were far better, although lightning did trigger several small fires in the Gallatin NF behind my camp.

    Unfortunately I had to leave. It’s never fun to leave such a majestic national forest as the Gallatin. Glacier was also incredible this year, as always.

    1. Dee Humphrey Avatar
      Dee Humphrey

      Wow! Glad I read this, as we’re getting ready to travel from Sacramento to Kalispell. My sinuses are bad enough right now without smelling smoke! We’ll postpone our trip for a week & see how it goes. Thanks for posting.

  3. Don Avatar

    I just moved to Elk Bend, Idaho. We have had light smoke for a few days, but this morning – with no wind – heavy smokey haze. Hoping and praying for a wind shift to blow this out. (the dogs are driving me nuts, they want out)

  4. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    I spent the last two weeks in Alaska and traveling there and back. I was amazed to see how much of the Snake River Plain in Idaho had burned in the time I was gone, and was burning today, compared to two weeks ago.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan