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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update



Kamiah, Idaho (July 20, 2017) – Fire crews continue operations on several lightning-caused fires, detected last weekend, July 14-16, on the Lochsa/Powell, Moose Creek, and Red River Ranger Districts. 

Firefighter and public safety will remain the number one priority in wildland fire management and emergency response.  The current National Preparedness Level (PL) is at PL 4, meaning three or more Geographic Areas are experiencing wildland fire incidents requiring Type 1 and 2 Incident Management Teams.  Competition exists for resources between Geographic Areas.  Nationally, 60% of Type 1 and 2 Incident Management Teams and crews are committed to wildland fire incidents.

Forest and Fire Management Staff consider the long-term effects of smoke in their decision to manage fires in designated wilderness and roadless areas.  The impacts of smoke, values at risk, availability of resources, and location are considered when determining suppression actions of fires not threatening communities. Fire managers are working with air quality specialists to monitor smoke and potential impacts to communities. 

Current fire status by district: 

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District
The Hidden (approximately 1 acre) and Maud (approximately .25 acres) fires have not shown any increased activity since receiving rain on the afternoon of July 15th.  Both fires are located in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and remain unstaffed as they continue to be managed for resource benefits. 

The Cherokee and Brushy fires are contained, with crews still assigned to conduct mop-up operations.  The Cherokee Fire, located approximately 5 miles south of Lolo Pass was contained at 7 acres.  The Brushy fire, about 4 miles south of Lolo Pass, is contained at 11 acres. The Papoose fire is burning at 6.5 acres, located approximately 4 miles northwest of Powell.

Several fires have been called “out”.  The Parachute fire, approximately 4 miles northeast of Powell, the Granite fire, 2 miles west of Granite Pass, and Crab fire, 7 miles east of Powell, were all called out before reaching more than .25 acres.  Storm, Twin#322, and Round Top 1 fires, all located  approximately 5 miles south of Lolo Pass, were kept under 0.5 acres.  The Checkerboard fire, located near the Idaho/ Montana border approximately 5 miles east of Lolo Pass was called out at 1.5 acres.   

The fires on the Lochsa/Powell Ranger District with the exception of the Hidden and Maud fires are located in the area referenced as the checkerboard with adjacent privately owned tracts of land. 

For more information on fire activity or area closures on the Locsha/Powell Ranger District, please call (208) 942-3113.
Moose Creek Ranger District
Seven fires are currently burning in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness on the Moose Creek Ranger District and are being managed for resource benefits.

The Moose Creek 1, 2, and 3 fires have merged and will now be call the Moose Creek 1 fire.  The fire is estimated to be 700 acres and is immediately southeast of Moose Creek Ranger Station.  Crews have implemented a Point Protection strategy for building and bridges in and near the historic Moose Creek Ranger Station.  Structure protection measures include wrapping buildings and installing sprinkler systems. 

The Mink Peak fire is on Mink Peak and is approximately 2 acres in size.  The Lone Pine fire is .25 miles west of Lone Pine Point in Marten Creek and is 2 acres in size. The Lone Pine fires is 1.5 miles south of the Three Links bridges. The Elbow Bend fire is one mile south of Roll Point and 1.8 miles northeast of Elbow Bend. The fire is located within the 2015 Roll fire perimeter.

Visitors recreating on the Selway River should expect to see smoke and fire in the area of Moose Creek Ranger Station.  Several trail closures, listed below, are in place for public health and safety due to active Wildfire:
Trail 430:  From the Moose Creek Ranger Station to the junction of the 435 Trail. 
Trail 421:  From Moose Creek Ranger Station north to the junction of the 620 Trail.
Trail 427:  To the trail Junction at Freeman Peak (Junction of 427 and 430 trails).
Trail 438:  From the Bridge on the Selway River to the junction with Trail 602.
Trail 436:  Trail 436 to the junction of Trail 562.
Trail 626:  Trail 626 to the junction of Trail 601.
Trail 555:  Trail 555 to the junction of Trail 437.

For more information on fire activity or area closures on the Moose Creek Ranger District, please call (208) 926-4258.

Red River Ranger District
Fires currently being managed for resource benefits on the Red River Ranger District, are located approximately 14 miles east of Red River Ranger Station.  The Ladder fire is approximately 2 acres, Rattlesnake Point fire is approximately 66 acres, and the Bleak fire is approximately 64 acres.  All three fires are located on the east side of Bargamin Creek drainage and south of the Magruder Road, within the Frank Church Wilderness from near the Magruder Road to just above the Salmon River.
Visitors recreating on the Magruder Road and the Salmon River should expect to see smoke and fire in the area of Bargamin Creek drainage. 

An area closure is in effect for public health and safety due to active wildfire:

Commencing at the intersection Trail 577 and Main Salmon River at Rattlesnake Bar traveling northeast along Trail 577 to junction of Trail 501, traveling south on Trail 501 to Main Salmon River, traveling west along Main Salmon River back to the intersection at Rattlesnake Bar. Travel on these trails as well as the area bound by them, is prohibited.

Note: River Camps and boat traffic along Main Salmon River is open to the public adjacent to closure area.

The Little Mallard fire, located 2 miles northeast of Dixie, was one acre and was called out on July 19, 2017.  The Dixie Fire, located 3.5 miles southwest of Dixie, started on July 19th and approximately .5 acres in size, is estimated to be contained by today, July 20, 2017

For more information on fire activity or area closures on the Red River Ranger District, please call (208) 842-2245.

Know before you go - Fire and closure information will be posted on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests website at www.fs.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater.  The current Fire Danger level across the forest is Very High.