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Monday, July 24, 2017

CRAIG MOUNTAIN COMPLEX FIRE UPDATE

Tonight there will be a Community Meeting at the Winchester Senior Center, 413 Nezperce St., at 7:00 p.m. in Winchester, Idaho.

The Craig Mountain Complex includes the Corral Creek fire and the Powerline fire, which merged due to successful burnout operations over the past few days. The Craig Mountain Complex fire is bordered by Deer Creek to the west and Cottonwood Creek to the east, south and southwest of Winchester, Idaho.  Mike Almas’ Northern Rockies Incident Management Team (IMT) is managing the incident.

Crews have made significant containment progress. Strong fire perimeters have been established through burnout operations, dozer lines, and hand lines. Yesterday crews strengthened fire lines along the north and east perimeter of the Corral Creek fire. Crews continued to patrol and monitor the Deer Creek drainage and complete mop-up as needed.  A small burnout operation was completed from Frye Point to China Point to reinforce and hold existing fire line. Structure protection efforts have been successful as no cabins or residences have been affected.  Crews will continue to monitor structures at Garden Creek Ranch.

Today’s activities will include direct hand line and burnout operations on the east side of China Creek to improve and secure the fire perimeter.  Patrol, monitor and mop-up activities will continue in the Deer Creek drainage and west of Eagle Creek.  Crews will reinforce existing dozer line and complete hand line from the dozer line south into the Eagle Creek drainage.

Firefighter, aviation, and public safety continues to be the number one priority. Hazards that could be encountered by recreationists along the Snake and Salmon rivers are rocks and rolling debris and helicopters dipping from the river drainages.  Although no closures exist along either waterway, fire managers encourage recreationists to access locations outside of the active fire area and continue down or upstream away from helicopter dip sites.

A dry, cold front has brought cooler temperatures. However, dry conditions persist and fire danger remains Very High to Extreme. Currently, there are no fire restrictions but residents are reminded to use caution with any outdoor activity that may cause a spark.  Never leave campfires unattended.  Pour water or add dirt to your campfire and stir, repeat if necessary, until your campfire is cold.  Remember:  If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.

Road Closures & Special Announcements: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Cottonwood Field Office has issued a temporary emergency closure order for the Eagle Creek Road, from the intersection of Zaza Road to the Salmon River due to fire suppression activities and to ensure public health and safety.  Recreationists floating the Salmon River will not be able to exit at Eagle Creek.  The next take out location is at Heller Bar.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office will be closing public access to the affected fire area at the intersection of Hoover Point and Soldier Meadows roads. 

Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office will be closing public access to the fire area at the intersection of Deer Creek and Zaza roads.

Residents and landowners will be identified and allowed access from both closures.

Idaho Fish and Game has also closed the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area 30 miles south of Lewiston.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place.  Members of the public who fly drones over or near wildfires threaten the safety of firefighters and the effectiveness of wildfire management operations.  If you fly, we can’t.

For more information:  Information for the Craig Mountain Complex can be found on InciWeb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5376/, by phone at (208) 502-1166, or on Facebook at Craig Mountain Complex fire.  Questions can be emailed to craigmountaincomplex@gmail.com.

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