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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fire activity continues along Highway 21

PIONEER FIRE—IDAHO CITY, IDAHO

As the inversion lifted in the mountains surrounding Idaho City yesterday, fire behavior increased, especially on the northeastern flank.  High temperatures, predominant west winds, and unstable air conditions contributed to fire growth. 

Crews removed brush and trees along Idaho State Highway 21 to improve it as a fuel break. A night shift was added to continue the work. Idaho State Highway 21 remains closed from mile marker 48 north of Idaho City to mile marker 72.5 south of Lowman.  The fire reached Highway 21 near Woop-Um-Up Campground last night, but still remains on the western side of the road this morning.

Progress is being made on all other flanks of the fire. Large sections of the southern, southwestern, and western flanks are in mop-up status and are being monitored. Firefighters are working to complete hand lines on the northwestern flank with good success.

The updated fire size is currently 9,370 acres, is 33 percent contained, and has 903 people assigned. This includes 27 crews, 10 of which are Interagency Hotshot Crews

All aircraft are being used to full capacity.  They include Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT) dropping retardant and 10 helicopters supporting the fire with bucket drops and needed supplies. Structure protection and initial attack resources are also in place.

Similar fire activity is expected today, with temperatures remaining high for the next several days. Smoke will likely again be visible from great distances.

Protection of the Elk Creek Watershed, the water source for the community of Idaho City, remains one of our top priorities. 

Type 1 Incident Command Team 1, Beth Lund, incident commander, has been brought in to help fight the northern part of this fire should it grow in that direction. 

A community meeting was held in Lowman Emergency Services building and was well-attended by approximately 100 local residents.

Forest closures are in effect and are subject to change periodically. Current information can be viewed online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/boise/alerts-notices and at inciweb.nwcg.gov/4866.

The flight of unmanned vehicles such as “Drones” is strictly forbidden within the fire area including the area designated as a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR).