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Saturday, September 2, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update - September 2


Kamiah, Idaho (September 2, 2017) – The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests firefighting resources continue to respond to new fire starts following Wednesday’s storm.  Twenty-six lightning-caused starts have been detected with the largest of those being the Center Ridge fire, estimated to be 250 acres, with crews continuing mop up and patrol of the fire.  Like many areas across the west and northwest, resources are being shared to protect values at risk.  As above average temperatures continue and no precipitation is expected recreationists are reminded to use caution with any device that could cause a spark.

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 (21,041 acres) shows minimal growth on the north-northwest side of Marten Hill as well as in the area of Black Butte.  It remains west of Sheep Creek.  Helicopters are ready for water drops in the event fire activity increases significantly.   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.   Information for the Hanover fire is available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5459/.  

The Center Ridge fire is contained at 250 acres; the Cougar fire is controlled at 0.5 acre; the Square fire is contained at .25 acre; the Meadow Creek fire is contained at .75 acre, and the Hungry and Johnson Ridge fires are out.

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

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District
Reported Friday, the Little Weitas fire (.1 acre), is burning in heavy timber 0.75 miles north of Little Weitas Butte.  The fire is being managed for resource benefits as it performs its natural role on the landscape.

The Liz Butte Fire (5.5 acres), 0.5 miles north of the Liz Butte cabin, is burning in dead and down timber and brush.  The fire is staffed and firefighters are assessing the Liz Butte cabin for structure protection.   Andys Hump fire (100 acres), 2 miles east of Coolwater Lookout, is burning on the north and south sides of Coolwater Ridge.  Structure protection measures are in place on the Coolwater Lookout.  Road and trail closures are in effect for the south side of the fire on the Moose Creek Ranger District.  Air patrol has been unable to provide details for the Glover fire (25-30 acres), 3.5 miles east of Coolwater Lookout, but a closure order is in effect for a portion of the Eagle Mountain Trail #206 to the south of the fire.  No new information is available for the Old Man fire (25-30 acres) one mile southwest of Huckleberry Butte in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  A portion of the Idaho Centennial Trail #220 to the north of the fire is closed for public safety.  All of these fires are being managed for resource benefit, utilizing point protection strategies.  They are being monitored and patrolled by air and ground resources.  For information on these fires, please call the Kooskia office at (208) 926-4274.

The Hidden fire, at Hidden Lake in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, has grown to 8,497 acres.  The active portion of the fire continues to be on the west end, south of the confluence of Big Sand and Colt Killed Creeks.  No new growth was observed on the east end near the Montana/Idaho border.  The fire remains approximately one-half mile from the border.  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.

Moose Creek Ranger District
Eight fires from lightning strikes of a few days ago were detected.  The Crow 1, 2 and 3 fires, two to 2.75 miles northwest of Gardiner Peak, are all 10 to 15 acres.  The Gardiner Forkfire (10-15 acres) is 1.6 miles northeast of the Gardiner Lookout.  The Wylies Ridge fire (20-30 acres) is burning 2.5 miles southwest of Shearer Peak. Three additional fires were found burning in the area of the Coolwater Lookout:  the Tanner, Ryder and Grace fires.  The Andys Hump fire (reported above on the Lochsa/Powell Ranger District) is also burning on the Moose Creek Ranger District and closures are in effect.

The Falls fire (29 acres) in the Falls Creek drainage is 100% lined and continues to be monitored and patrolled. The Baldy fire is out at .1 acre, and the Goddard fire (2 acres) is expected out today. 

The Lone Pine fire in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness was active Friday in the vicinity of Tony Point.   Only minimal activity was noted on all other fires in the wilderness.  They include: Buck Lake fire (2,316 acres); Moose Creek 1 fire (14,858 acres); Chute Creek fire (approx. 2,460 acres); Pettibone fire (approx. 307 acres); and Lonesome fire (6 acre).  These acreages and fire behavior details will be updated with the next infrared mapping flight.   An area closure and various 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 Turkey fire (.1 acre), 2 miles southwest of Warm Springs Bar, and the Baboon fire (.1 acre), 2.5 miles northeast of the Red River Hot Springs, were reported and staffed by personnel working to suppress them.  The French 2, Blanco and Aardvark fires are out.  The Zebra fire (.3 acre) 2 miles northeast of Red River Hot Springs is contained and being mopped up. 

Activity on the Patrol Ridge fire (580 acres), 4.5 miles east of Windy Saddle, remains minimal as it creeps around the perimeter and north toward the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.   Minimal fire activity is occurring on wilderness fires on the district.  The Rattlesnake Point fire (approx. 4,626 acres) between Rattlesnake Creek and Sabe Creek on the Salmon River has been quiet.  An area closure and trail closures remain for the safety and protection of the public.

MAGRUDER ROAD CORRIDOR (Forest Road 468) – Subject to Emergency Closure
Visitors travelling the Magruder Corridor Road, Forest Road 468, to Darby, Montana, are advised that due to fire activity on the Nelson Creek fire the road could close at any time near the West Fork Road (Montana State Hwy 473).   Information for the fire and closure is posted on InciWeb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5549/.

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/# .      
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