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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update - August 29



Kamiah, Idaho (August 29, 2017) – A weather inversion has kept smoke low on the horizon from fires in Idaho and surrounding states.  At the same time, that smoke layer provides shading over many of the fires on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, helping to moderate fire activity during periods of hot, dry weather.  Radiant heat from the sun does not reach the ground with the same intensity as it does with clear air.

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 today at 6 p.m. from Dave Bales’ Southwest Type 2 Incident Management Team to a local Type 3 incident management organization under the command of Kevin Barger from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.  The area closure will be modified effective August 30.  After transition, InciWeb will continue to be updated with Information for the Hanover fire at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5459/.  

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

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District
The Glover fire (2 acres) was reported Monday 3.5 miles east of Coolwater Lookout, and the Old Man fire (3 acres), one mile east of Old Man Point in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, will be managed for resource benefits.  No trail closures are in place at this time.  For information on these fires, please call the Kooskia office at (208) 926-4274.

The Hidden fire (7,657 acres), at Hidden Lake in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, has been moderately active for the past two days, adding 2,339 acres primarily to the northeast where it is burning both north and south of Big Flat Creek and backing into the Colt Killed Creek drainage. The fire has advanced to approximately one-half mile from the Idaho/Montana border.  Trail closures remain in effect for the safety and protection of the public.  A smoke column was highly visible Monday and smoke is expected to impact the local area as well as the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys.  For information on the Hidden fire or closures, please call the Powell office at (208) 942-3113.

Crews on the Lolo Peak fire have conducted a successful burnout operation on the northeast side of the Powell Ranger District near Elk Meadows.  The burnout reinforced existing firelines on the west perimeter of the Lolo Peak fire utilizing Forest Service road 5903.  Crews assigned to the Lolo Peak fire will continue to patrol and monitor the area.

Moose Creek Ranger District
The Sparrow fire (.1 acre), one mile west of Sparrow Point, and the Falls fire (29 acres), in the Falls Creek drainage, are both within containment lines and firefighters are working to suppress them.

Significant fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness include:  Buck Lake fire (1,086 acres) was the most active fire, having more than doubled in the past few days, with growth on the southern and eastern portions of the fire, although it remains north of Grave Creek and south of Indian Park;   Moose Creek 1 fire (14,344 acres) is showing activity mainly in the northeastern and southeastern portions of the fire; Lone Pine fire (7,302 acres) grew to the east and northeast, with active fire also on the north facing slope to the north of Grizzly Saddle, and is within a tenth of a mile of merging with the Mink Peak fire;  Chute Creek fire (2,460 acres) has shown only minimal growth  on the perimeter;Tony fire (438 acres) shows growth on all perimeters, but primarily to the east where it is now approximately one-half mile from the Selway River; Pettibone fire (307 acres) showed minimal activity to the southeast in Pettibone Creek; Mink Peak fire (821 acres) is showing no significant growth;  Lonesome fire (5 acre), 1.5 miles north-northeast of Wylies Peak, grew somewhat to the south.

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 only full suppression fire remaining on the district is the Bat fire (1.5 acre), 1.5 miles east of Big Mallard Creek Trailhead.  That fire is contained and firefighters are mopping up.  

The Patrol Ridge fire (580 acres), 4.5 miles east of Windy Saddle, has continued to grow steadily around the perimeter but is making no major runs in any particular direction.  It has crossed into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness on the north. 

Minimal fire activity is indicated on wilderness fires on the district.  Significant wilderness fires include:  the Plummer fire (estimated 200 acres), east of the Hanover fire; theRattlesnake Point fire (4,626 acres) between Rattlesnake Creek and Sabe Creek on the Salmon River which continue to have minimal growth to the north toward Rattlesnake Point and along Trail #577; and the Bleak fire (182 acres) north of Sheep Hill Lookout.   No infrared mapping flights have occurred for some time, so these acreages are estimates.   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 Hanover, Moose Creek 1, Rattlesnake Point, Lone Pine, Mink Peak, Chute, and Hidden fires, please visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/13/# .