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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Salmon-Challis National Forest Fire Update

Contact:  Amy Baumer (Public Affairs Officer)                                              208-756-5145

August 19, 2015

FIRE UPDATE
Salmon, Idaho:  The Salmon-Challis National Forest has two fires that are being managed by Incident Management Teams (IMT).  The Middle Fork Complex, comprised of the Waterfall, Stoddard, Harbor, Alpine, and Roaring Fires in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness are being managed by a Type III IMT.  Please refer to http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4485/ for further information on these fires. 

The Bobcat Fire is being managed by Great Basin Team 5, which is a Type II IMT.  Further information on the Bobcat Fire can be found at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4527/. 

Smoke in the valley will continue to be an issue as there are many fires in the Region and a southerly flow of wind from the north. 

Since August 10th there have been 20 new fires on the Salmon-Challis National Forest.  Five of those fires are in the Frank-Church River of No Return Wilderness and are being permitted to play, as nearly as possible, their natural ecological roles in the wilderness.  Other than the Bobcat Fire, the remaining fires are listed below.  Fire activity could also continue and increase with predicted weather and winds.

Fire Summary:

NORTH FORK RANGER DISTRICT

Beartrap Fire: 
·         A ½ acre fire in Lick Creek, is out. 

Elkhorn Fire: Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness
·          The Elkhorn Fire, fire is estimated to be 50 acres with 100% containment.  The fire is located west of Clear Creek and north of Elkhorn Creek, approximately 3.5 miles from the wilderness boundary.  Although lightning caused fires should be permitted to play, as nearly as possible, their natural ecological role within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, fire managers decided to suppress this fire due to its proximity to the non-wilderness boundary and considering values at risk within the Panther Creek drainage. Resources currently staffing the fire are 20 firefighters, and a helicopter. 

Know before you go.  Always check with your local Ranger Station prior to your trip to get the most up to date information on current fire activity, closures, fire danger, and fire restrictions for the area. 

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Contact:  Nancy Guerrero, Public Information Officer                                 Phone:            208-866-0238

August 19, 2015

MIDDLE FORK COMPLEX UPDATE
Salmon, Idaho:  Currently, the Middle Fork Complex is comprised of the Waterfall, Stoddard, Roaring, Harbor, and Alpine fires.  

Dates of Detection:  Waterfall: August 11th; Stoddard: August 12th; Roaring: August 5th; Harbor: August 16th; and Alpine: August 13, 2015.

Cause:  Lightning

Size: Waterfall: 3,593 acres; Stoddard: 867 acres; Roaring: 28 acres; Harbor: 2 acres; and Alpine: .1 acre.

Location: Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness; North Fork Ranger District, about 40 air miles West of Salmon, ID. Waterfall: East of the Middle Fork Salmon River, North of Waterfall Creek; Stoddard: West of the Middle Fork Salmon River, North of Cradle Creek; Roaring: in the Big Horn Crags; Harbor: adjacent to Harbor Lake; and Alpine: North side of Wilson Creek drainage.

Fuels: Waterfall: open timber and grass; Stoddard: open timber and grass; Roaring: open timber; Harbor: open timber; and Alpine: open timber.

Managing Agency: USDA Forest Service, Salmon-Challis National Forest

There was slight growth on the Waterfall, Stoddard, and Roaring fires yesterday, due to moderate weather conditions. Weather predictions for today are mild and sunny, with a high of 87 degrees.

Today, firefighters will continue to monitor the five fires, and where needed, reduce the risk of fire reaching significant resources in and around the Middle Fork Complex. The two Wildland Fire Modules will carry on their assessment of the river rafting camps. These fires will be permitted to play, as nearly as possible, their natural ecological roles within the wilderness.

Trail Closures for the Salmon-Challis National Forest include: Roaring Trail (Forest Trail #6021, Crags Trail) beginning at Big Clear Lake to Roaring Creek Lake; South Fork Waterfall Trail (Forest Trail #6019), beginning at the junction with Waterfall Trail (Forest Trail #6045) to its end; Middle Fork River Trail (Forest Trail #6044) to the confluence of the trail and the outlet of Terrace Lakes (where trail crosses headwaters of Waterfall Creek; Stoddard Lake Trail (Forest Trail #6140) beginning at Stoddard Creek Point at the junction with Stoddard Trail (Forest Trail #6169) to its junction with Forest Trail #6168; Stoddard Trail (Forest Trail #6169) beginning at the confluence of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and the Salmon River, to its end at the junction with Forest Trail #6168.

For closure maps, fire updates, and photos, please visit http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4485/ 

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Contact:  Rick Wagner                                                                        208-993-3358             

August 17, 2015

BOBCAT FIRE UPDATE                                                                                                          
Salmon, Idaho:  There will be a Public Meeting tonight to discuss the Fire Situation on the Salmon-Challis National Forest and surrounding areas at 6:00 p.m. at the Salmon Valley Business and Innovation Center at 803 Monroe Street, Salmon, Idaho.  New information, if available, will be presented at that time. 

The Bobcat Fire is estimated at 315 acres and continues to burn in grass and light to heavy timber. The probable cause is lightning. It is located in the vicinity of Napoleon Gulch west of the Salmon River, approximately 15 miles north of Salmon Idaho.  The fire is burning in steep, inaccessible terrain.  Firefighter safety has continued to be the priority when deciding when and where firefighters are placed on the line. 

The fire is visible from Highway 93 just south of North Fork Idaho. Fire managers are urging the public to use caution when traveling in this area due to traffic congestion and are urging the public to continue traveling past the fire and not stopping along the roadway. There may also be fire support vehicles in the area that will need efficient and safe access along Highway 93.

Fire managers are continuing to develop strategies to manage this high priority fire emphasizing public and firefighter safety, property protection, livestock, and resource protection.  The forest has received some resources and used fire crews as well as helicopter bucket drops to suppress the fire. Due to the weather and smoky conditions, it was very difficult to complete retardant drops. Nationally we are still at the highest fire planning level which means there are limited fire resources available.

Firefighters are continuing to assess structures in the vicinity of the fire area.  The assessments are being prepared to help support the long term plan in development for this high priority fire. Structure assessments and point protection plans will continue to be a priority. The public is encouraged to cooperate with firefighters as they evaluate homes and structures near and around the Bobcat Fire area.
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