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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Selway Complex Update August 30, 2015

The Baldy and Wash fires in the Selway Complex were caused by lightning strikes on August 10th and 13th in the Red River Ranger District of the Nez Perce - Clearwater National Forest near Elk City, Idaho.  With dry conditions, gusty winds, steep terrain and a shortage of firefighting resources due to multiple fire starts and existing fires, the fires quickly grew.  Fires are expected to be active until a significant, season-ending weather event occurs, which may not occur until mid/late October.

Fire
BaldyWash
Start DateAugust 10August 13
Acres*2,22033,775
Percent Containment90
Personnel289Included in Baldy
Acreage for yesterday's fire growth not yet available 
Yesterday's Events

Baldy Fire: Firefighters continued assessing structures in the Elk City area.

Wash Fire: Firefighters continued assessing structures in Elk City area.  Seventeen people attended the public meeting at the McGuire Cabin in Orogrande, Idaho yesterday.
Due to high winds, there was significant growth on all fires in the complex. This growth triggered a Level 3 Evacuation Order for the town of Newsome, the movement of the fire spike camp at Sing Lee back to base camp, and the forest closure.  The Noble fire reached Mallard Creek Ranch.  Many structures in Mallard Creek had protection in place.  
Point protection efforts focused on assessing, preparing and defending structures in the areas of Mallard Creek Ranch and Cook Ranch. Red River Community and structures along Dixie Road were also evaluated for protection needs.  

Planned Events
Selway Complex Firefighters will continue preparation work around structures in the Elk City area.  We will also monitor the fire and focus on protecting Newsome structures. 

We will also be evaluating roads for opportunities for improvements that could be used to keep the fire away from Elk City, Red River and structures along Dixie Road.

Point protection efforts will continue with assessing possible damage and preparing structures in the areas of Mallard Creek Ranch, Cook Ranch, Red River Community, and along Dixie Road.  

Road.Restrictions and Closures
Temporary flight restrictions are over the Wash and Baldy fires.  The entire Nez Perce National Forest is closed due to fires, with the exception of the Palouse Ranger District.  For more information, visit the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest web site.

Evacuations
A Level 2 Evacuation Alert has been issued for the Elk City area due to potential high winds and fire growth on both the Baldy and Wash Fires and increased fire activity south of Elk City. A Level 2 Evacuation means be ready. This level indicates there is significant danger to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready at a moment's notice.  

Level 3 evacuations are still in effect for Mallard Creek and Cook Ranches and Newsome.

Fire Weather
A cold front moved through the area yesterday. Today, winds will be 15 to 20 mph, with gust up to 35 mph from the south/southwest.  Temperatures will be in the low 60's, relative humidity in the 45 to 50 range. 

Smoke Concerns:  Air quality continues to be unhealthy.  For more information on current air quality conditions, visit  http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/.  For information about mitigating smoke related health hazards, visit  http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/p/smoke-and-health.html.