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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update


Kamiah, Idaho (August 13, 2017) – Thunderstorm activity, including lightning, was widespread across the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Saturday night.  A Red Flag Warning is in effect for the fire zone until 8:00 p.m. tonight, with more thunderstorms possible as a cold front passes through.  Although some precipitation occurred with last night’s storms, firefighting crews stand ready across the forest for initial attack of expected new fires.  Firefighter and public safety is paramount and all firefighting strategies will take that into account.

Spotty, light rain did not change the need for fire restrictions.  Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect in the Grangeville Fire Restrictions Area, Riverbreaks and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, and Interagency Fire managers in the Grangeville Dispatch Zone are assessing the need for fire restrictions in the Uplands and anticipate implementation mid-week.  Visitors are encouraged to know before you go: fire and closure information is posted on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests website at www.fs.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater Information on fire restrictions across the state is located at http://www.idahofireinfo.com/.

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


Current status by district: 

Salmon River Ranger District
The Hanover fire is currently being managed by Irv Leach’s Type 2 Incident Management Team.  Information for the Hanover fire can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5459/, by calling (208) 839-9974, or on the Facebook page.

For more information on fire activity or area closures on Salmon River Ranger District, please call (208) 839-2211.

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District
The Hidden fire is 4,600 acres.   Infrared mapping was difficult due to heavy cloud pockets over the fire last night, but it appears the most intense heat is on the western and northern flanks of the fire, with some minimal growth on the east. The fire is on the shores of Hidden Lake and backing to the west.  The Nez Perce-Clearwater and Bitterroot National Forests are working together in the long-term management and strategy for this fire.  Trail closures remain in effect.  Smoke is expected to impact the local area as well as the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys.

The Maud fire (2.3 acres) is two miles southwest of Siah Lake.  Eight rappellers continue mop up operations.

The Hilton fire (5.5 acres), 1.5 miles southwest of Beaver Ridge Lookout, is in a patrol and monitor status via ground and aerial resources.

For more information on fire activity or area closures on the Locsha/Powell Ranger District, please call (208) 942-3113.

Moose Creek Ranger District
Fires on Moose Creek Ranger District are located in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  These fires are being monitored primarily by air and are being managed for long-term resource benefit. Structure protection is in place on the Halfway, Meeker and Three Links bridges as well as on the Shissler Lookout.   Visitors recreating on the Selway River should expect to see smoke and fire in the area and use extreme caution as trees are currently falling in and around the river. 

Although infrared flights were unable to fly Saturday due to smoke cover and storm activity, ground resources saw minimal fire activity on these fires.  Therefore, reported acreages remain the same, as follows:  Moose Creek 1 fire - 7,758 acres; Lone Pine fire - 5,650 acres; Mink Peak fire - 765 acres; Buck Lake fire - 382 acres; Sixty Two fire - 15 acresFry Pan fire - 100 acres; and the Moe fire is showing no smoke. 

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

Red River Ranger District
Four new lightning-caused fires were reported on the Red River Ranger District on Saturday.  The Patrol Ridge fire, 4.5 miles east of Windy Saddle, is estimated at 50+ acres.  This fire will be managed for long-term resource benefits using a point protection strategy.  Identified values at risk include Warm Springs Bar and Running Creek Ranch.  Trail closures in the area (including Trails 530 and 531) are expected for the safety and protection of the public.   The Herman (.10 acre), Sandy (.20 acre), and Jim (.10) fires are located close together three miles west of the Dixie Work Center.  Helicopters making water drops worked the fires Saturday and will continue doing so when conditions allow.  The Herman and Sandy fires are now staffed with rappellers and district personnel, and firefighters are in route to the Jim fire.   Firefighters will work to fully suppress all three fires.

The Plummer fire (estimated 150 acres) is located in the Gospel Hump Wilderness five miles north of the mouth of Sheep Creek.  Smoke continues to inhibit aerial reconnaissance.  Coordination with the Hanover Incident Management team and the Salmon River Ranger District continues as the Plummer and Hanover fires are expected to burn together.

Fire activity was minimal Saturday on all three fires in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.  The Rattlesnake Point fire (4,069 acres) is well established in the Sabe Creek drainage.  The Nez Perce-Clearwater and Bitterroot National Forests are working together in the long-term management and strategy of the fire.  The fire is anticipated to continue east and into the Bitterroot National Forest.  The Ladder (2 acres) and Bleak (170 acres) fires have been quiet for the past week.  Sheep Hill Lookout is wrapped to protect it from the Bleak fire.  All three fires are being managed for resource benefits using a point protection strategy.  Smoke and fire in the area of Bargamin Creek drainage can be seen from Magruder Road and the Salmon River.  An area closure is in effect.

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

North Fork Ranger District
The Lolo National Forest to the east of the district has implemented an area closure for public health and safety due to the Sunrise fire that may impact visitors accessing Hoodoo Pass, Hoodoo Lake and the areas adjacent to the pass via Forest Road #250 from Montana. Hoodoo Pass is accessible via Cedar Creek and Freezeout Road (high clearance vehicles recommended and no trailers).  For information about the closure and the Sunrise fire, please visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5379/#

For more information on this development, please call the North Fork Ranger District at (208) 476-4541.

For fire information on Moose Creek 1, Rattlesnake Point, Lone Pine, Mink Peak, and Hidden fires, please visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/13/# .
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