I agree with Dirk that the elk encounters will probably be few. But don't discount the adventure it will be no matter what. Yes, elk numbers are down. But the latest numbers showed that over 75% of the bulls were mature ones. I would take into consideration how much time you have to hunt. If you have two weeks to hike in and hunt, that would be ideal. You will need time to locate the elk. Also, yes, wolves have been a major problem for the elk in this zone, so make sure to buy your wolf tag. But habitat, in my opinion, has been even a bigger issue. When people tell you it is thick, believe them. But with a little research, I think you can find some more open parts of the zone that hold elk. And you need to look where fires have been in recent years, where good habitat is now springing up.
So there are a lot of factors to consider when thinking about hunting the Selway. I myself am thinking about heading in there this year. After you spend hours of quality time scouring this forum for its wealth of info, go to the website shown in my signature. You will find an overview of elk hunting in the Selway (among other zones in Idaho) that you might find helpful. Those posts are just to give folks a flavor of what they might be getting into.
I have looked at that webiste before are you on the Hunt Talk forum by any chance?
Yep, you've probably seen me over there too.
Good luck with your planning, and have fun with it ~
There's no easy answer to that question. If you have Google Earth, there are some files created by the USFS that will give you exact locations of fires. Here is the link to those files; I think they cover 2009-2011:
BUT, the file names don't tell you anything about location, though they do have dates on them. So click on the ones (and you have to do one by one) that are between July and September. As you click on them, they should open up with Google Earth, and you can see where fires were anywhere in the Continental U.S. It's time consuming, but it's accurate, I think.
Here is the USFS's main page for fire mapping, where you can possibly find more info:
Finally, here's a good interactive map:
Good luck exploring ~