This afternoon the fire was easily visible from the house and so I went on the deck and took these pictures -- that is one of our garages in the foreground. We are not in danger but it is relatively close. Here are a couple of pictures and I have also included some of the newspaper's story about the fire after the pictures.
(from the Missoulian)
"Unexpectedly strong afternoon winds whipped the Kootenai Creek fire into a frenzy Tuesday, more than doubling the blaze from 900 acres to about 2,000.
The wildfire - which is being allowed to burn - started moving west along the steep canyon walls where it has burned since a mid-July lightning storm, then took a run into dense timber along the divide between Kootenai and Bass creek canyons.
The resulting plume of smoke could be seen throughout the Missoula and Bitterroot valleys. The fire is burning due west of Stevensville, two miles into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.
Bitterroot National Forest spokeswoman Nan Christianson said flames were running through the tree crowns and spotting across Kootenai Canyon trail and creek to the south. Strong winds were pushing it up a north-facing slope toward the ridgeline, and also toward the eastern mouth of the canyon.
The upper reaches of the Kootenai Canyon trail had already been closed, after spot fires made travel there dangerous Tuesday morning. The closure begins at the wilderness boundary and extends to the Montana-Idaho border.
The lower two miles of the trail west of Stevensville remained open to hikers and climbers as of Tuesday evening. Access will be re-evaluated on Wednesday, according to Stevensville District Ranger Dan Ritter.
Tuesday's late-day winds were so strong that Ritter had to ground the helicopter flying water to the fire. No ground firefighters are assigned to Kootenai Creek, as it is being allowed to burn as a lightning-caused wilderness fire.
Fire managers intended to take infrared readings of the burned area overnight, then “we'll decide what to do,” Ritter said. “It's still in the wilderness and in rugged terrain. It's too steep for hand crews.”
Because no buildings or private property is threatened, the fire will likely be allowed to continue burning. It is now the largest wildfire in the state of Montana.
There's a 50 percent chance of rain or thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday, and temperatures may drop by 20 degrees by the end of the week, Christianson said."
In other news, my sister and her husband just came back from two days in Glacier National Park (niece Elizabeth stayed with me) and we hear it is amazing there! However, there are lots of grizzly bears -- double yikes!!!!
I hope the only fires near you are perfect for making s'mores -- and no bears invited!