Moose fire grows as sweltering days, lightning loom

Joshua Murdock

NORTH FORK, IDAHO – With sweltering temperatures looming this week, relatively calm winds could be critical in preventing the Moose fire about 22 miles south of Lost Trail Pass from exploding in size.

But a forecast of dry lightning Thursday and Friday poses a threat.

The fire approached 40,000 acres and was 10% contained on Tuesday as nearly 900 firefighters worked to cut lines around the blaze and protect buildings ahead of the fire. The fire is burning just west of U.S. Highway 93 between Salmon, Idaho, and Lost Trail Pass on the Montana-Idaho line. The blaze ignited mid-afternoon on July 17 and rapidly grew amid high winds and red-flag conditions last week.

The fire is expanding on three fronts — to the west, south and east — driven by chaotic wind patterns through river canyons, up and down slopes, and over ridge tops. The eastern head of the fire threatens the most structures, along the Highway 93 corridor.

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Jessica Schick, a public information officer on the fire, said that Highway 93 could be closed “if fire behavior in the corridor presents a danger to the

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