This is a critical week for wildfire this year in Idaho

Expect at least one more week of big, unpredictable fire behavior across Idaho that will keep bottling up recreation, filling river valleys with smoke and holding thousands of firefighters in place.

With three 100,000-plus-acre fires continuing to burn across southwest and central Idaho into Montana, there remains the potential to wreck havoc in places like the Salmon River Canyon, between Stanley and Challis and communities in the Boise National Forest. Fuel conditions remain extremely dry, National Interagency Fire Center Wildfire Analyst Jeremy Sullens told fire managers at NIFC’s daily briefing Monday.

Those conditions are expected to continue into next week, he said. So that also presents the threat new fires could start and take off throughout the Northern Rockies.

“I think we are right at the end of the peak,” Sullens said.

Ed Delgado, National Interagency Fire Center predictive program manager said strong winds are expected to blow from California northeast through Montana Wednesday and Thursday. Those two days will be the present a threat to the extensive and carefully placed defenses firefighters have built on the Trinity Ridge, Halstead and Mustang Complex fires.

"They’ll test us over the next few days," said John Segar, chairman of NIFC's Multi-agency Coordination group.