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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Highline Fire Update - September 2


Location: The Highline Fire and Goat Fire are both burning on the Payette National Forest, Krassel Ranger District, entirely within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (https://tinyurl.com/y8qomgpm), approximately 23 miles east/northeast of Warren, Idaho.
Date of OriginJuly 28, 21017 @ approx. 7:00 p.m.
Cause: Started by lightning
Current Size: Highline Fire: 45,595 acres / Goat Fire: 405 Acres
Current Situation: The Highline Fire yesterday made several runs up to one mile in length. These occurred on the southern perimeter near Moose and Moose Jaw Creeks and on the eastern perimeter into the Queen Creek drainage area. The fire remains most active on the southern two-thirds of the incident. The western perimeter in Flossie and Chamberlain Creeks continues to back to the west at approximately 1/4 to 1/3 mile per day. On the southern flank, the fire in Moose Creek continues to move to the south after yesterday's run. South of Moose Jaw Creek the fire is well established in heavy timber. This area burned aggressively yesterday afternoon due to stronger winds and will continue to burn well with fire behavior increasing through the weekend because of continuing hot and dry weather. The fire continues to burn actively on the eastern flank in the area of Deer and Queen Creeks. Here the fire is currently moving towards Mule Creek Point out of Queen Creek. Predicted weather conditions through the weekend will support rapid fire growth with possible plume dominated fire behavior on Sunday and Monday. The Goat Fire continued to grow in an old fire scar, moving primarily to the south and west. It did slop over the ridge on the west side and is working its way slowly into Phantom Creek. Firefighters are monitoring the Highline and Goat Fires for impingement of Management Action Points developed in the Strategic Long-Term Plan that may prompt additional point protection at other Values at Risk in the Fire Planning Area. Firefighters continue active point protection efforts at Root Ranch with pumps, hoselays and portable water tanks in place in the event the fire threatens the site. The fire edge is about one and a half miles to the west of Root Ranch, smoldering in the bottom of Wapiti Creek. Fire progression towards additional Management Action Points and Values at Risk including Sheepeater Lookout, Butts Point Lookout, Snowshoe Mine, and Fern Creek Cabin, as well as priority areas along the Salmon River Corridor between Lantz Bar and Corn Creek Boat Launch and Campground will be monitored. Fire movement north and east towards Arctic Point Lookout and south and west towards Rock Rabbit Lookout has increased point protection actions. Firefighters are planning to implement structure wrap at the Arctic Point Lookout today. Continued fire progression west towards Sheepeater Lookout will be closely monitored to determine timing and needs of unstaffing the Lookout and implementing structure protection measures. Chamberlain Guard Station and Stonebraker are in patrol status by air.
Percent Containment: The Highline and Goat Fires have no current containment. They are lightning-caused, natural fires burning in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Firefighters are conducting point protection which is a wildfire response strategy that protects specific assets or highly valued resources from the wildfire without directly halting the continued spread of the wildfire. Points or zones being protected may be communities, individual structures, areas of high resource value, etc. Continued wildfire spread may be desirable in order to achieve management objectives or may be inevitable due to extreme burning conditions, safety concerns to firefighter exposure, inaccessible terrain, or other limitations.
Fire Management Strategy: The Payette National Forest has selected a monitor/point protection fire management strategy as the fire is burning within the Wilderness, started naturally by lightning and burning in the right place, at the right time, with the right resources, for the right reason. This management approach allows the Highline Fire to play its natural role in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to achieve ecological benefits for enhancement of forest health and wildlife habitat, while protecting values at risk and providing for firefighter and public safety. Suppression actions will be taken where lightning fires pose serious threats to life and/or property within wilderness or to life, property or natural resources outside of wilderness. Monitoring and point protection will continue to be the course of action and point protection will be implemented for values at risk if threatened by the fire.
Fire ResourcesFire crews assigned include the Boise Interagency Hotshot crew, the Teton Wildland Fire Module, and the Salmon-Challis Crew #7. Crews and miscellaneous overhead are spiked-out at Root Ranch. Firefighters may need to conduct burnout operations and point protection at these locations in order to protect Root Ranch, Cold Meadows and values along the Salmon River Corridor. Fireline leadership, safety officers and paramedics are also with the crews. Crews are being supported (food, water, equipment, supplies) with a Type 3 helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. A total of 84 personnel are assigned to the overall incident. An Incident Command Post is setup in McCall to coordinate all fire response and support actions.
Values at RiskRoot Ranch, Cold Meadows Guard Station, Lower Chamberlain Bridge, Arctic Point, Butts Point, Sheepeater and Rock Rabbit Lookouts, and values along the Salmon River corridor from Corn Creek to Lantz Bar. Threat to the historic structures at Stonebraker and Chamberlain has been reduced, but the sites remain interior of an active fire. Infrastructure located along the Salmon River Corridor include the Salmon River Lodge, Corn Creek Boat Launch and Campground, Horse Creek Bridge, Stub Creek and Lantz Bar Guard Stations, and Fern Creek Cabin. Root Ranch is a private inholding with 12 structures. Cold Meadows Guard Station has five administrative buildings at the site. Point protection has been successful in safeguarding and protecting structures. There have been no loss or damaged to any structures.
Fuels and Terrain: The majority of the Highline Fire is burning within fire scars from 2000. The fires are burning through a highly diverse and variable landscape. The fuels in and around the fire area can be describe as sparse grass and brush on the mid-to-lower slopes of the Salmon River; a mixture of vegetative conditions in the recent burns; and some areas of mixed conifer that hasn’t seen fire recently. Fuels in the recent burns range from sparse consisting of areas of grass and brush, to moderate where brush and regeneration has reestablished, to heavy where dead and down fuels have a high loading and are located beneath a timber canopy. The most significant fire movement has been through areas of heavy dead and down fuels in association with a timber over-story. The fire has burned very active when the relative humidity is less than 16%; wind gusts are greater than 20 mph; temperatures greater than 80 degrees and a Haines Index of 4 or more. Typical burn periods are from mid-day to early evening.
Injuries: None to-date
Closures: The Chamberlain Airstrip is closed due to fire activity. A Forest Area Closure Order is also in effect for the Highline Fire area. Please visit the following link for the Highline Fire Area Closure Order: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/payette/alerts-notices.
Fire Restrictions: The Payette National Forest is under STAGE 1 FIRE RESTRICTIONSClick this link for designated sites where campfires are allowed. If a site is not signed as being a designated site, then campfires are not allowed at that site. There are no fire restrictions in the Frank Church River or No Return Wilderness. For more information: http://www.idahofireinfo.com/p/wilderness-fire-restrictions.html.
For More Information: Follow the Payette National Forest on Twitter at @Payette Forest, and on Facebook at U.S. Forest Service – Payette National Forest. Subscribe to email updates via GovDelivery at https://goo.gl/R2fDJr. If you have a question, please email us at payettefireinformation@gmail.com. Visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5500/ for more information on the Highline and other fires throughout the nation and www.idahofireinfo.comfor information on fires throughout the state of Idaho.