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Ross Fork Fire pushes to Alturas Lake, Salmon River

‘Horrific’ blaze in Sawtooth Valley continues to grow, fueled by high winds and dry conditions

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Ross Fork Fire at Alturas Lake

A CL-415 “super scooper” plane drops water on the Ross Fork Fire near Alturas Lake on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The Ross Fork Fire burning in the Sawtooth Valley in northern Blaine County continues to spread in some of the region’s most popular recreational areas, with the flames pushing toward Alturas Lake, Pettit Lake and the headwaters of the Salmon River, near Galena Summit.

The fast-moving wildfire on the west side of state Highway 75 burned approximately 2,500 acres between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning, bringing the burn-area size to about 31,300 acres of forest, brush and grassy areas where the Smoky and Sawtooth mountains meet. The fire was only 2% contained Thursday afternoon.

In a community meeting Wednesday night near Stanley, Incident Commander Marty Adell told the audience that firefighting teams have been actively battling the blaze but have been hindered some by excessively hot, dry conditions, as well as high winds.

Infrared mapping put the Ross Fork Fire, outlined here in red, at around 31,000 acres on Thursday morning.

Ross Fork Fire in Smiley Creek

On Labor Day, flames encroached into the Smiley Creek community and two homes were lost.

Ross Fork Fire, smoke

Smoke blankets the Sawtooth Valley on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Ross Fork Fire; Sept. 7

The Ross Fork Fire continues to scorch the western Sawtooth Valley.

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