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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Highline Fire Update - August 29


Location: The Highline Fire and Goat Fire are both burning on the Payette National Forest, Krassel Ranger District, entirely within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (https://tinyurl.com/y8qomgpm), approximately four miles north of Chamberlain Basin.
Date of OriginJuly 28, 21017 @ approx. 7:00 p.m.
Cause: Started by lightning
Current Size: Highline Fire: 34,937 acres / Goat Fire: 56 Acres
Current Situation: Yesterday the Highline Fire was active on all flanks of the incident. The northeastern portion of the fire is active due to an influence of a south/southwest wind. There are areas of smoldering and creeping throughout the fire with active burning in areas of heavy concentrations of dead and down trees. On the western perimeter, the fire continued to actively back into the winds in the area of Chamberlain, Little Lodgepole, Flossie and Game Creeks, which are all within the McCalla and Chamberlain drainages. Fuels in the area are predominately a heavy loading of dead and down trees, with a moderate amount of regeneration. The fire continues to be active on the southeastern corner, burning in the Wapiti Meadows and along Wapiti Creek drainage. The Goat fire regained some activity yesterday on the northern end with the influence of the south/southwest winds. There is an increase in the chances of thunderstorm development through Wednesday night along with gusty outflow winds up to 55 mph. This may impact fire growth in the areas of the thunderstorms. The NWS has issued a Red Flag Warning for lightning Wednesday through early Thursday morning. Firefighters continue active point protection efforts at Root Ranch and Cold Meadows Guard Station. They are monitoring fire progression and are prepared to initiate protection actions should the fire threaten these locations. The Lower Chamberlain Bridge continues under a passive protection measure with a gravity sock, hoselays and nozzles in place to mist the bridge and adjacent fuels. Fire progression towards additional management action points and values at risk including Butts Point Lookout, Arctic Lookout, Snowshoe Mine, Fern Creek Cabin, Rock Rabbit Lookout, and values along the Salmon River Corridor from Lantz Bar to Corn Creek will be monitored. Chamberlain Guard Station and Stonebraker Administrative Site will continue to be monitored and patrolled by air.
Percent Containment: The Highline and Goat Fires have no current containment. They are lightning-caused, natural fires burning in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Firefighters are conducting point protection which is a wildfire response strategy that protects specific assets or highly valued resources from the wildfire without directly halting the continued spread of the wildfire. Points or zones being protected may be communities, individual structures, areas of high resource value, etc. Continued wildfire spread may be desirable in order to achieve management objectives or may be inevitable due to extreme burning conditions, safety concerns to firefighter exposure, inaccessible terrain, or other limitations.
Fire Management Strategy: The Payette National Forest has selected a monitor/point protection fire management strategy as the fire is burning within the Wilderness, started naturally by lightning and burning in the right place, at the right time, with the right resources, for the right reason. This management approach allows the Highline Fire to play its natural role in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to achieve ecological benefits for maintaining a healthy forest and enhancing habitat for wildlife, while protecting values at risk and providing for firefighter and public safety. Suppression actions will be taken where lightning fires pose serious threats to life and/or property within wilderness or to life, property or natural resources outside of wilderness. Monitoring and point protection will continue to be the course of action and point protection will be implemented for values at risk if threatened by the fire.
Fire Resources AssignedFire crews assigned include the Boise Interagency Hotshot crew, the Teton Wildland Fire Module, and the Salmon-Challis Crew #7. Crews and miscellaneous overhead are spiked-out at Root Ranch and Cold Meadows Guard Station. Firefighters may need to conduct burnout operations and point protection at these locations in order to protect Root Ranch, Cold Meadows and values along the Salmon River Corridor. Fireline leadership, safety officers and paramedics are also with the crews. Crews are being supported (food, water, equipment, supplies) with the Wasatch Helitack Type 3 helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. A total of 99 personnel are assigned to the overall incident. An Incident Command Post is setup in McCall to coordinate all fire response and support actions.
Values at RiskRoot Ranch, Cold Meadows Guard Station, Lower Chamberlain Bridge, Arctic Point Lookout, Butts Point Lookout, Sheepeater Lookout, Rock Rabbit Lookout, and values along the Salmon River corridor from Corn Creek to Lantz Bar. Threat to the historic structures at Stonebraker and Chamberlain has been reduced, but the sites remain interior of an active fire. Structures and infrastructure located along the Salmon River Corridor include: Salmon River Lodge; Corn Creek Boat Launch and Campground; Horse Creek Bridge; Stub Creek Guard Station; Lantz Bar Guard Station and Historic Cabin Site; and Fern Creek Cabin. Root Ranch is a private inholding with 12 structures including the main cabin, sleeping quarters, cookhouse building, airstrip, and various outbuildings. Cold Meadows Guard Station has five administrative buildings at the site. Point protection has been successful in safeguarding and protecting structures. No buildings or structures have been destroyed or damaged by the fire.
Fuels and Terrain: The majority of the Highline Fire is burning within fire scars from 2000. The fires are burning through a highly diverse and variable landscape. The fuels in and around the fire area can be describe as sparse grass and brush on the mid-to-lower slopes of the Salmon River; a mixture of vegetative conditions in the recent burns; and some areas of mixed conifer that hasn’t seen fire recently. Fuels in the recent burns range from sparse consisting of areas of grass and brush, to moderate where brush and regeneration has reestablished, to heavy where dead and down fuels have a high loading and are located beneath a timber canopy. The most significant fire movement has been through areas of heavy dead and down fuels in association with a timber over-story. The fire has burned very active when the following conditions occur: relative humidity less than 16%; wind gusts are greater than 20 mph; temperatures greater than 80 degrees and a Haines Index of 4 or more. Typical burn periods are from mid-day to early evening.
Injuries: None to-date
Closures: The Chamberlain Airstrip is closed due to fire activity. A Forest Area Closure Order is also in effect for the Highline Fire area. For more information on the Highline Fire Area Closure Order, go to: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/5500/39004/. For a map of the Highline Fire Area Closure, go to:https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/map/5500/0/70607/.
Fire Restrictions: The Payette National Forest is under STAGE 1 FIRE RESTRICTIONSClick this link for designated sites where campfires are allowed. If a site is not signed as being a designated site, then campfires are not allowed at that site.
For More Information: Follow the Payette National Forest on Twitter at @Payette Forest, and on Facebook at U.S. Forest Service – Payette National Forest. Subscribe to email updates via GovDelivery at https://goo.gl/R2fDJr. If you have a question, please email us at payettefireinformation@gmail.com. Visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5500/ for more information on the Highline and other fires throughout the nation and www.idahofireinfo.comfor information on fires throughout the state of Idaho.