The big concern over the next few days for crews battling the Moose Fire north of Salmon is the hot dry weather and the potential for more wind and thunderstorms.
Following a couple of days of being a little less active in lower temperatures and smoke-creating inversions, the fire picked up activity on Wednesday afternoon — and firefighters responded in kind.
After expanding to nearly 40,000 acres in just over a week, the largest fire in the Northern Rockies is still posing some major challenges as it continues to spread, especially to the south and east.
That's putting additional pressure on the US Highway 93 corridor, where both homes and traffic are being threatened.
The biggest challenge is attacking the fire in the extremely rugged terrain — and keeping firefighters safe.
But that's where the aerial attack is making the difference, with everything from helicopters, to drones being used to slow the fire's spread toward the river bottom.
So far, the approach is working. Although the fire is very, very close to homes, crews are keeping ahead of the blaze's spread.
Throughout the afternoon and evening, all the teams are mobilizing to keep this monster at bay.
In fact, evacuation orders were eased late Wednesday close to North Fork.
The big challenge for the next couple of days will be the potential for those dry thunderstorms and of course hotter temperatures, and wind.