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Monday, August 1, 2016

Pioneer Fire Update

The wind, heat, and low relative humidity combined into perfect conditions for burning and produced increased fire activity. 

The fire size increased by 10, 655 acres to a total of 38,072 acres.  It remains 30 percent contained. Personnel totals increased to 1,282 people.  Other resources remained relatively the same with 32 crews, 10 helicopters, 48 engines, 8 dozers, 13 watertenders, and 5 masticators.


The fire made some significant gains especially on the eastern flank in the area between Banner Creek and Willow Creek. The increased fire activity pushed firefighters out of the area to adjoining divisions where they engaged in suppression efforts.  The fire also made a run to the south/southeast into the Big Owl Creek area, which forced firefighters to use the dozer line from Highway 21 to Sunset Lookout as a containment line. When the wind shifted out of the southwest, firefighters took the opportunity to conduct a burnout operation along the Sunset Lookout Road.  


Crews took advantage of this favorable wind to burn throughout the night simultaneously, north from the lookout and south from Mores Creek Summit with the intent of meeting in the middle near Steep Creek. Their effort was stalled when the wind stopped, but they plan to complete the burnout operation today to secure the stretch of line from Pilot Peak to Sunset Lookout and stop the southern progression of the fire.
The fire remained active along the entire northern perimeter, but its slow movement north allowed firefighters to continue preparing contingency lines for future use.  Crews and heavy equipment moved north along Burns Ridge constructing contingency line toward Lowman.

Crews also continued constructing contingency lines along Hwy. 21 south from Lowman to the 385 road and east toward Archie Mountain. Night crews supported burnout operations through the night. Aircraft use was heavy and consistent throughout the day and was instrumental in support of firefighters.

The west side of the fire remains calm but resources on the ground and in the air are still monitoring and patrolling.

Firefighters will strengthen and hold containment lines today and will evaluate possible courses of action for future lines, including any roads, natural barriers and old burn scars that will aid in slowing the fire’s progress. 

As the fire approaches the Sloper Mine, firefighters are planning burnout operations to strengthen the line along Burns Ridge.  Field observers are actively looking for opportunities to cross Rock Creek to the east and begin corralling the fire’s progress.

Hot and dry conditions will prevail again today. Smoke will likely again be visible from great distances. 
Fire personnel face additional hazards on the fireline, including old mining sites. Long term contingency planning is ongoing and managers are coordinating all actions in order to ensure firefighter and public safety.

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. Information is also available at https://www.facebook.com/Pioneer-Fire-682201165260518/