The fast-moving Dixie Fire in Idaho grew from an estimated 2,500 acres Tuesday morning to an estimated 7,000 acres Wednesday morning. The wildfire has been sending a visible stream of smoke into the south end of the Bitterroot Valley, even though the fire is about 60 miles away.

Jim Wimer of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest said the fire spread in all directions. The fire crews are now working on structure protection and improving roads and fuel breaks (photo above) near the towns of Dixie and Comstock. He said a Type 1 Incident Command team will be taking over management of the firefight Thursday morning. There are already a number of aircraft, engines and heavy equipment helping the firefighters.

Forest Service officials are working on closing areas around the fire and will be updating information later today. The fire is again expected to grow in all directions in the hot, dry conditions, with storms passing through Idaho and Montana today. For more information, you can check inciweb and for closure details, check the Nez Perce-Clearwater website. The forest fire is 40 miles southeast of Grangeville, Idaho, on the Red River Ranger District. It was detected two days ago on the afternoon of July 5. Air tankers working a nearby fire were used to try to slow the growth that day.

Meanwhile, the Bitterroot National Forest, on the other side of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness from the Dixie Fire, has raised its fire danger level to "Very High," weeks ahead of the time in fire season that designation is usually called. Forest officials are again cautioning the public to be vary careful with campfires and do any firewood cutting in the cool morning hours.

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