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Friday, August 28, 2015

Motorway Complex-Jay Point Update Friday, August 28, 2015 8:00 a.m.

Motorway Complex                       Jay Point Fire
Date Started: 8/14                         Date Started: 8/17
Cause: lightning                              Cause: lightning
Size: 30,974 acres                         Size: 3,265
Containment: 2%                          Containment: 0%
Personnel: 373                              Personnel: 148

Cooperating Agencies: U.S. Forest Service, Idaho County, Idaho Department of Lands, Idaho State Police, Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho County Light & Power
Currently, almost 2,400 firefighters are fighting fire in central Idaho; their safety and that of the public is always the first priority.  Assignment of resources – firefighters, helicopters, engines, etc. - is coordinated to assure that critical needs are met and the well-being of firefighters is addressed. When an Incident Management Team (IMT) reaches the end of its fire assignment a determination is made about the level of management still needed for that particular fire.  A “transfer of command” will occur to either another IMT or management responsibilities may be returned to the local agency administrator. Fire managers strive for a seamless transfer as an IMT leaves and another takes on management responsibilities.
 
The following list provides contact information on the large fires burning in central Idaho.
For information on the Clearwater Complex, Motorway Complex (northern fires) including Musselshell, Lawyer 2, Lolo, Carrot Ridge, Fisher, and Greer Fires, please call 208-478-5110, 406-309-0371.  Incident Commander is Mike Wilkins.
 
For information on the Motorway Complex (southern fires) including Woodrat (near Syringa), Big Hill, Four Bit, Slide, and Jay Point near Powell, please call 208-926-4170. Incident Commander is Greg Poncin.
 
For information on the Selway Complex fires near Elk City including the Wash and Baldy Fires, please call 208-842-2215. Incident is Commander Mike Dueitt.
 
Beginning Thursday, August 27, several transitions will occur over the next few days; the Northern Rockies Type 2 IMT has completed their fire assignment and is transferring management of the Motorway Complex fires to two Teams, the Northern Rockies Type 1 IMT and the Southern Area Type 1 Team, also known as the Blue Team. The Selway Complex, the Baldy and Wash Fires, will continue to be managed by the Southern Area, “Red” Type 1 Team.
Although changes in the management of the fires are occurring and will continue, the incident management teams are committed to managing these fires in a manner that provides a safe fire assignment for all personnel while protecting life and property across the landscape and provides the public accurate and timely information.
 
Weather: Temperatures today will be in the mid-80s to 90s with relative humidity in the high teens to mid-twenties. Winds are predicted to be out of the west, southwest at 10-15 mph. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms today with dry lightning and associated high outflow winds.  Fire weather concerns are increasing with hotter, dryer weather and a cold front bringing increasing winds on Saturday.
 
Wood Rat: The fireline is holding along the Smith Creek Road above Syringa. The primary focus today for firefighters will continue to be structure protection in the area.  Firefighters are patrolling the fire at night to check on established fire lines and check on areas of concern.  With increased visibility yesterday, helicopters were busy working on two spot fires, one that was west of the Swan Creek drainage near Bechtold’s property and another that spotted over the 5502A road.   As the inversion lifts today, use of helicopters will increase again to support firefighting efforts, including the addition of a large, twin rotor Chinook helicopter.   The west side the fire is backing downslope towards roads that will be used as containment lines. The northeast area of the fire is being scouted today to develop a plan for containment. Preparations are also being made along the 5505 road for a burnout operation in order to bring the fire to a location where is will be easier to hold a containment line.  Snags and other trees identified as hazards are being removed along all roadways as they pose a serious safety hazard to firefighters.
 
Slide Fire:  The Midnight Sun Hot Shots from Alaska conducted firing operations yesterday in the Cedar Flats area. Crews are also doing prep work along Johnson Ridge for possible future firing operations. Scouting and reconnaissance was done along the Cool Water Ridge Road. Crews will stage out of a spike camp located at the Johnson Bar Campground.  Structure protection groups is in place and have installed over 30 water pumps and associated hose lays among structures that are threatened. Low intensity firing operations will continue to be conducted today in order to bring the fire slowly downslope to the valley floor. Yesterday, these firing operations were successful at consuming surface fuels to eliminate their availability to the main fire front. Contingency lines will be constructed off of Road 223.
Jay Point Fire: Yesterday the Lolo Hot Shots built hand lines from Social Corner toward the Lochsa River. Crews conducted a firing operation in the northeast area of the fire near Tom Beale Road and began prep work along the 362 Road in order to contain the fire’s growth towards the east. Firefighters will work on reinforcing fire line with pumps and hoses from Social Corner to the river while heavy equipment will improve the Tom Beale Road as well as roads to the east of the fire to be used as contingency lines.  Engine crews will continue to provide protection for structures near the Powell Ranger Station and the Lochsa Lodge.  Work will include installing pumps, hose lays and supporting firing operations if needed.
 
Smoke Concerns: Air quality continues to be unhealthy. For more information on current air quality conditions, visit http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/ and http://app.airsis.com/USFS/fleet.aspx.  For information about mitigating smoke related health hazards, visit http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/p/smoke-and-health.html
 
Closures: There are significant closures of forest lands and roads within the areas of wildfire activity including the Selway River road.  Closures are listed at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices. Closures may change, so check back regularly.