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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update - August 30


Kamiah, Idaho – A Red Flag Warning is in effect from noon to 8:00 p.m. today across the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.  Scattered thunderstorms will develop this afternoon and evening that are expected to bring gusty winds and lightning, with only isolated rain.  Consequently, already attentive firefighters are on heightened alert for increased fire behavior, new fires and potential safety hazards associated with winds and lightning. 

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
Management of the Hanover fire (18,610 acres) has transitioned to a local type 3 incident management organization under the command of Kevin Barger from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.  Infrared mapping and patrol shows that fire is backing somewhat northwest toward Boulder Creek.  The perimeter did move out of the wilderness northeast of Marten Hill but then swung to the east and back into the wilderness.   Activity on the east side of the fire remains west of Sheep Creek.  This fire is being heavily patrolled and containment lines actively monitored.  Two 20-person crews, three engines, a type 3 and a type 2 helicopter, and various pieces of heavy equipment remain assigned to the incident.   The area closure has been modified.  Information for the Hanover fire will continue to be available 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 Hidden fire (7,909 acres), at Hidden Lake in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, saw slight growth in the Big Flat Creek drainage on the northeast side of the fire.  There is also isolated heat with a few patches of scattered heat on the south half of the fire.  It remains approximately one-half mile 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 information on the Hidden fire or closures, please call the Powell office at (208) 942-3113.

The Glover fire (10-15 acres), 3.5 miles east of Coolwater Lookout, is active with movement to the east and west.  Fire managers anticipate closure of Trail 206 to Trail 133.  The Old Man fire (now 20-25 acres), one mile east of Old Man Point in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, is creeping in brush and moving downhill.  Both fires are being managed for resource benefits.  For information on these fires, please call the Kooskia office at (208) 926-4274.

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 is out at .1 acre.  The Falls fire (29 acres) continues to burn in the Falls Creek drainage, but remains within the containment line. 

No significant activity has occurred Tuesday on the fires in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  The significant wilderness fires include:  Buck Lake fire (1,086 acres);   Moose Creek 1fire (14,344 acres); Lone Pine fire (7,302 acres);  Chute Creek fire (2,460 acres); Tony fire (438 acres); Pettibone fire (307 acres); Mink Peak fire (821 acres);  Lonesome fire (5 acre).  Infrared mapping of these fires is expected to occur tonight if weather conditions permit.  That mapping will tell more about the growth of these fires.  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
Visitors to the Red River Ranger District wanting to travel the Magruder Corridor Road, Forest Road 468 (a/k/a Nez Perce Road) to Darby, Montana, are advised that there is no through traffic.  The road has been closed by virtue of fire activity on the Nelson Creek fire.  The closure is approximately 4 miles west of the road’s junction with the West Fork Road (Montana State Highway 473).   For more information about the Nelson Creek fire and closure, please see InciWeb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5549/.

The Bat fire (1.5 acre), 1.5 miles east of Big Mallard Creek Trailhead is controlled and some of the firefighters are hiking out today.  On Thursday, a pack string will transport out more firefighters, equipment and supplies.  

The Patrol Ridge fire (580 acres), 4.5 miles east of Windy Saddle, continues steady growth around the perimeter, including north toward the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. 

Minimal fire activity is seen on wilderness fires on the district.  Significant wilderness fires include:  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 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/# .