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Friday, July 29, 2016

Firefighters continue to construct containment line; community meeting in Lowman tonight

IDAHO CITY, Idaho, July 29, 2016 -- The Pioneer Fire again grew mainly eastward, increasing in size by more than 3,000 acres. The fire is now 16,204 acres and 27 percent contained. Using retardant to try to keep the fire in check, firefighters and heavy equipment tried to build direct line east of Highway 21. Northwest winds overnight pushed the fire south in this area. 

To the north, where fire is burning in the Coulter Creek Summit area and in the headwaters of Rock Creek, firefighters constructed fire line down a ridge to prevent fire from moving further down into Rock Creek and scouted for roads and natural barriers to construct contingency lines. On the southern flank, crews began burning east from bulldozed contingency lines in the Pilot Peak area to secure the fire down to Highway 21.

Control actions east of the contingency lines from Pilot Peak down to the highway are planned today. Firefighters will continue trying to control the new fire growth east of the highway. To the north of this area, they are assessing any structures and working on connecting roads and natural features to form a contingency line.

In preparation for possible thunderstorms over the weekend, a crew will install waterbars on the southeastern perimeter to help prevent mud and water from entering the Elk Creek drainage, the watershed for Idaho City. On the western flank, where work is nearing completion, crews will continue to hold and improve the line. 

Hot and dry conditions will prevail again today, producing similar fire behavior. Smoke will likely again be visible from great distances. A cold front is expected to move into the fire area tomorrow, bringing slightly cooler temperatures, gustier winds and the chance of thunderstorms.

Fire managers will provide updates and answer questions at three community meetings on the weekend; tonight at the Emergency Services Building, seven miles east of Lowman; Saturday at the Crouch Community Hall, and Sunday at the Ray Robison Community Hall in Idaho City. All meetings are at 7 p.m.

The area closure order for the fire can be viewed online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/boise/alerts-notices and at inciweb.nwcg.gov.