Idaho and Montana Wildfires Continue to Expand, Even as Weather and Temperatures Moderate

On Wednesday (9-7-22), a Canadian cold front sliding south along the continental divide brought some minor relief from high temperatures and cleared out much of the smoke that has been suffocating Montana. However, the intense wildfires burning out of control along the Idaho/Montana border remained unrelenting, as strong winds fanned the flames and test both states’ fire lines.

In central Idaho the Moose Fire, burning in the Salmon-Challis National Forest north of Salmon, has now grown to 107,523 acres, making it the largest wildland fire currently burning in the United States.

The largest forest fire in Montana is burning along the Continental Divide, 22 miles northwest of Wisdom. The Trail Ridge fire grew by nearly 2,000 acres Wednesday as high winds pushed the flames to encompass more than 12,500 acres.

Comprised of four distinct but closely adjacent fires, the Kootenai River Complex in the Selkirk Mountains northwest of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, grew by more than 1,200 acres yesterday and has now consumed a total of 13,705 acres of timberland just south of the Canadian border and roughly 15 miles west of the Montana border.

Weather forecasters are hopeful that the incoming Canadian cold front will bring a significant chance for showers to the mountains and valleys along the continental divide on Friday. It will also bring increasing northeasterly winds and the potential for below normal temperatures for the first time in several weeks. However, the relief is not expected to last very long.

A pesky ridge of high pressure is expected to re-establish itself over the Northern Rockies by Sunday. Temperatures are expected to warm again through the first half of next week to a few degrees above seasonal averages, but not as hot as what we’ve recently been experiencing.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.