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Monday, August 28, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update - August 28


Kamiah, Idaho (August 28, 2017) – “Burn out” or “back fire” (mistakenly called “back burning”) is a tool commonly used in wildland firefighting.  By intentionally setting fire to unburned vegetation (fuels) inside a control line, crews can slow down, knock down or even contain a moving fire.  The tactic is used to consume fuel between the control line and the edge of the fire, thereby eliminating or reducing one of three needed components for fire (fuel, oxygen, heat).  It makes it possible to locate control lines at places where the fire can be fought on the firefighters’ terms.  Sometimes burn out is used to protect structures or other values at risk.  The decision to perform burn out is made only after careful review of conditions; i.e., wind direction, topography, fuel moisture and so on.

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 atwww.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
Management of the Hanover fire (17,603 acres) will transition Tuesday from Dave Bales’ Southwest Type 2 Incident Management Team to a local Type 3 incident management organization under the command of Kevin Barger.   After transition, InciWeb will continue to be updated with Information for the Hanover fire athttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5459/.  

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

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District
One new fire has been reported one mile east of Old Man Point.  The Old Man fire is one acre in size and will be managed for resource benefits as it performs its natural role on the landscape.

Crews on the Lolo Peak fire have conducted a successful burnout operation on the northeast side of the Powell Ranger Station, near Elk Meadows.  The burnout was to reinforce existing fireline on the west perimeter of the fire using Forest Service road 5903.  Crews assigned to the Lolo Peak fire will continue to patrol and monitor the area.

The Hidden fire (5,318 acres), at Hidden Lake in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, continued to grow on the north side of Big Flat Creek.  It is now approximately 2.0 miles from the Idaho/Montana boundary.  Trail closures remain in effect for the safety and protection of the public.  Smoke is expected to impact the local area as well as the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys. 

For more information on fire activity or closures on the Locsha/Powell Ranger District, please call (208) 926-4274.

Moose Creek Ranger District
The new Lonesome fire (.10 acre), 1.5 miles north-northeast of Wylies Peak, is in monitor status.

The Sparrow fire, one mile west of Sparrow Point, is being actively suppressed, as is the Falls fire (29 acres) in the Falls Creek drainage. 

Significant fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness include:  Chute Creek fire (2,442 acres) was more active Sunday on the west edge between Chute and Saddle Creeks.  There was a small amount of growth on the north near Dead Elk Point;  Moose Creek 1 fire (13,536 acres showed minimal growth on all perimeters; Lone Pine fire (6,850 acres) showed activity and growth in the Weasel Creek drainage on the west side of the fire, as well as east of Lone Pine Creek and is close to merging with the Mink Peak fire;   Pettibone fire (307 acres) showed minimal activity to the southeast in Pettibone Creek; Mink Peak fire (821 acres) showed only minimal activity on all sides; Buck Lakefire (419 acres) was somewhat more active in the southeast portion;  Tony fire (348 acres) had some activity along the southeast perimeter.  Fire mangers continue to communicate with the Bitterroot National Forest regarding fires with potential to move onto that forest.
These wilderness fires are being monitored by air.  Various identified values at risk continue to be under point protection, including lookouts and bridges. An area closure and trail closures remain in effect.  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 Little Green fire (.25 acre), one mile west of Green Mountain Lookout, is contained and firefighters continue toward suppression.   Suppression efforts on the Bat fire (1.5 acre), 1.5 miles east of Big Mallard Creek Trailhead, are progressing well and 7 smoke jumpers will be released today for other fires.  The Duck fire (.75 acre), 2.5 miles east of Churchill Mountain, is contained after a successful hazard tree blasting operation Sunday, and personnel will be returned back to the station today.  The Elk fire (.2 acres) and Deer fire (.1 acre), both one mile southwest of Granite Peak, are out.

Some slight increased activity was noted on the wilderness fires, although no significant growth was reported. Significant wilderness fires include:  the Patrol Ridge fire (251 acres), 4.5 miles east of Windy Saddle; the Plummer fire (estimated 200 acres), east of the Hanover fire; the Rattlesnake Point fire (4,626 acres) between Rattlesnake Creek and Sabe Creek on the Salmon River; and the Bleak fire (182 acres) north of Sheep Hill Lookout.   An area closure and trail closures remain for the safety and protection of the public.

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

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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