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Friday, August 25, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update - August 24


Kamiah, Idaho (August 24, 2017) – Anticipated thunderstorm activity was light across most of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Wednesday night, but still remains a possibility for today and Friday.  Accordingly, firefighters are geared up to address new fires requiring initial response (also called initial attack).  Initial response is often the most chaotic and dangerous phase of a fire, when the situation is rapidly developing and many critical decisions must happen in a compressed time frame with limited information.  Safety of firefighters, both on the ground and in the air, as well as public safety, must remain the number one priority.

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/.

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 .

Current status by district: 

Salmon River Ranger District
The Hanover fire (17,003 acres) is under the management of Dave Bales’ Southwest Type 2 Incident Management Team.   Information for the Hanover fire 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 Hidden fire (last mapped at 4,754 acres) has been quiet the past several days but activity is likely to increase with winds from predicted thunderstorms.   Trail closures remain in effect.

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

Moose Creek Ranger District
The Falls fire (29 acres), 12 miles north of Elk City, has had no growth for several days and remains within containment lines.  Suppression efforts continue, but due to heavy fuels and firefighter safety, it is expected to be a long-duration fire. 

Significant fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness include:  Chute Creek fire (2,419 acres) showed 257 acres of growth, with the west edge between Chute and Saddle Creeks being the most active.  There was a small amount of growth on the north edge near Dead Elk Point.  It remains 1.1 miles west of Blodgett Lake.  Moose Creek 1 fire (12,817 acres) in the area of the Moose Creek Ranger Station showed minimal growth on all sides.  Lone Pine fire (6,570 acres) grew along Weasel Creek as the fire advanced to within a quarter mile of the Mink Creek fire.   Pettibone fire (307 acres), five miles northeast Selway Lodge, grew primarily to the southeast into Pettibone Creek; Mink Peak fire (817 acres) showed minimal growth on all sides.  The Buck Lake fire (approx. 412 acres) and Tony fire (approx. 210 acres) show little change.  Due to little activity and growth over the past several days, this will be the last report for the Isaac Lake fire (approx., 10 acres), Barren Ridge fire (approx. 30 acres), Dodge fire (approx. 50 acres), and Ballinger fire (approx. 10 acres), unless activity increases significantly.
These wilderness fires are being monitored by air when conditions allow.  Visitors recreating on the Selway River should expect to see smoke and fire in the area and should use caution, watching for falling trees and other hazards.
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 Patrol Ridge fire (251 acres), 4.5 miles east of Windy Saddle, was quiet Wednesday, with no significant growth.  Structure protection remains at Warm Springs Bar.   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.

Fire activity in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness was minimal Wednesday on the Rattlesnake Point fire (4,626 acres) between Rattlesnake Creek and Sabe Creek on the Salmon River and on the Bleak fire (182 acres) north of Sheep Hill Lookout.  Fire activity is likely to increase with winds from predicted thunderstorms in the area today and tomorrow.  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, has shown little activity.   This will be the last report for the Saddle fire unless significant growth occurs.

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/# .