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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update - August 20


Kamiah, Idaho (August 20, 2017) – Fires in wildernesses and roadless areas continue to fulfill their historical and natural role across the landscape.  This includes reducing overstocked vegetation, improving wildlife habitat, reintroducing nutrients to the soil, and reducing competitive vegetation and vegetation that could pose a risk of higher intensity fires in the future.  At the same time, fire activity is carefully monitored for degree of intensity, potential and direction of spread, and threats to natural and human values.  Often times the fires are manipulated with burn out operations to help direct their movement or for protection of values at risk.
 
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.  For current air quality in Idaho, please visit http://www.deq.idaho.gov/air-quality/burning/current-wildfire-smoke-info/ and for Montana http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/smokereport/mostrecentupdate.aspx .
 
Stage 1 fire restrictions are in effect in the Grangeville Fire Restrictions Area, Riverbreaks, Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, and Uplands.  The restrictions do not include wilderness areas.  Visitors should 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/.

Current status by district:  

Salmon River Ranger District
The Hanover fire is under the management of Dave Bales’ Southwest Type 2 Incident Management Team.  Information can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5459/, at (208) 839-9974, or on Facebook.

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

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District
The Elliot fire, one mile south of The Smoking Place, is contained and being mopped up.

The Hidden fire (mapped at 4,754 acres) grew 130 acres Saturday, with most growth on the north side.  Very little heat exists on the west flank of the fire.  Smoke is expected to impact the local area as well as the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys.  Trail closures remain in effect.

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

Moose Creek Ranger District
The Falls fire (approx. 25 acres), 12 miles north of Elk City, remains within containment lines.  Firefighters on the ground are supported by helicopter drops as needed.

The Chute Creek fire8 miles southeast of Elk Summit Guard Station in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, is 1,969 acres.   The southeast edge near Moose Lake was the most active Saturday.   It is 1.1 miles west of Blodgett Lake. 

Fire activity picked up on the Moose Creek 1 fire (11,383 acres) adding 1,445 acres to the north/northeast toward Shissler Lookout and up East Moose Creek and east in the Crew Creek area. The fire crossed Dog creek and is moving up the south slope.  The Lone Pine fire (6,177 acres) grew on all sides Saturday, with significant growth near Weasel Point.  Structure protection measures are in place for various identified values at risk.  Activity on other fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness was moderate.  Those fires include Isaac Lake fire (estimated .1 acre); Barren Ridge fire (approx. 15 acres); Dodge fire (approx. 50 acres); Ballinger fire (approx. 10 acres); Pettibone fire (approx. 1.0 acre);  Mink Peak fire (805 acres); Buck Lake fire (406 acres); and Tony fire (136 acres)
These wilderness fires are being monitored by air.  Visitors recreating on the Selway River should expect to see smoke and fire in the area and watch for falling trees.
For more information on fire activity or area closures on the Moose Creek Ranger District, please call (208) 926-4258.

Red River Ranger District 
The Sinker fire (.2 acre), 2.5 miles west of Big Mallard Creek Trailhead, was reported Saturday and quickly staffed with firefighters working to suppress it.  No other fires requiring suppression remain on the district. 

The Patrol Ridge fire (251 acres), 4.5 miles east of Windy Saddle, has been active, growing in all directions, with significant growth to the north.  Structure protection is in place at Warm Springs Bar.   The fire has not reached the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness boundary.  This fire is managed for resource benefits using a point protection strategy.  A trail closure exists for the safety and protection of the public.

The Plummer fire (estimated 200 acres) is located in the Gospel Hump Wilderness five miles north of the mouth of Sheep Creek.  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.

Fires in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness include:  Fire activity was moderate Saturday on the Rattlesnake Point fire (4,626 acres) with growth north along the ridge east of Rattlesnake Point.  The fire continues to move slowly northeast toward Bear Point.  Some spotting has occurred south of the fire and north of the Salmon River.  The Bleak fire (182 acres) showed minimal growth to the northwest. These fires are patrol by air or jet boat when conditions allow.  These fires are 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 remains.

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 Saddle fire (.1 acre), 3 miles east of Wallow Mountain Lookout in the Quartz Creek drainage, showed little activity.

An area closure on the Lolo National Forest to the east may impact 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, call the North Fork Ranger District at (208) 476-4541.

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