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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update - September 10th


Kamiah, Idaho (September 10, 2017) – Fire crews worked vigorously in their initial attack efforts to stop the spread of several new fires started by lightning on Friday afternoon.  A rapid and forceful response limited the spread of the Big Elk fire north of Elk City to 80 acres.  Fire mangers were concerned about this blaze due to its proximity to the community of Elk City and its location in the municipal watershed. 

The Panther fire along the Magruder Corridor was also caught early and kept to 3 acres.  Hunters are already beginning to traverse this popular route to reach hunting sites ahead of the September 15early rifle season. 

Initial attack crews successfully extinguished roughly a dozen fires, and will work again today to catch, contain and mop up any new fires that are detected. 

Additionally, any and all other available resources across the forest are being mindfully dispatched in areas where potential threats to life and property exist.  Firelline construction continues to protect residences in the vicinity of Lowell and along the Selway River from the 1,513 acre Andy’s Hump fire (now part of the “Coolwater Complex’) near the community of Lowell.  A regional team of fire specialists has been brought in to manage that fire, freeing up Forest firefighting personnel to focus on initial attack and mop-up efforts. 

Information regarding the Coolwater Complex Fires, including the Andy’s Hump fire, can be accessed on Inciweb or on the Coolwater Complex 2017 Facebook page. 

Details about additional fire activity follows.  

CURRENT STATUS BY DISTRICT 
Moose Creek Ranger District (208) 926-4258
Steve Goldman’s Type 2 Eastern Area Incident Management Team (EAIMT) assumed management of the “Coolwater Complex” yesterday which includes Andy’s Hump (1,513 ac), Glover(approx. 100 acres), and Old Man (approx. 650 acres) fires.  The EAIMT will hold public meetings Tuesday, Sept. 12 and again Friday, Sept. 15 at the Fenn Ranger Station Visitor Center.  Information will be posted on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Coolwater-Complex-2017-117049548995312/           or by emailing: coolwatercomplex@gmail.com  The Andy’s Hump fire is burning on the Moose Creek and Lochsa/Powell Ranger Districts. 

The Falls fire (30 acres) in the Falls Creek drainage is 100% lined and continues to be monitored and patrolled.  The Freeman fire (376 acres) is burning in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  TheLone Pine fire (12,369 acres) has advanced north of Bitch Lake to become well established in the upper Bitch Creek.  Buck Lake fire (3,920 acres) grew actively southeast and across Marten Creek, as well as north of Rock Pillar.  Moose Creek 1 fire (16,801 acres) is in the Freeman Creek drainage and is about .10 mile from the Freeman fire.  Other fires in the wilderness include: Chute Creek fire (2,753 acres); Barren Ridge fire (1,110) 1.6 miles south of California Point;  Ballinger fire (1,184 acres) 2.25 miles northwest of Pinchot Point; and Isaac Lake fire (1,416 acres) 0.5 miles west of Isaac LakeVarious identified values at risk have protection measures in place.  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.  Due to the number of fires reported, those under 250 acres will no longer be reported until size or behavior changes significantly.

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District Powell Office:  (208) 942-3113    Kooskia Office:  (208) 926-4274.
The Hidden fire, at Hidden Lake in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness grew by 130 acres in the last 48 hours for a perimeter of 11,433 acres.  The bulk of activity is on the NW portion where it crossed Big Sand Creek and is actively burning approximately 15 acres.  The spot on the Bitterroot side is holding at 10 acres in the upper portion of Fred Burr creek.  A Bitterroot helicopter was able to fly the spot and do 2-cycles of bucket work yesterday.  Getting helicopter support on the spot remains the highest priority for this fire. Closures are in effect.  For more information visithttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5446

The Little Weitas fire is 117 acres burning in heavy timber 0.75 miles north of Little Weitas Butte.  The Weitas Butte Lookout tower is wrapped.  The Liz Butte fire is 817 acres, 0.5 miles north of the Liz Butte cabin.  The cabin has been wrapped, burned out around, and is secure.  Both Little Weitas and Liz Butte fires are visible from the 500 road, which remains open.  Liz Butte Road 560 is closed to the cabin.  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 as conditions allow.  Trail and road closures are in effect. 

Red River Ranger District (208) 842-2245
The Big Elk fire is now estimated at 80 acres after spotting to the south yesterday.  It is burning north of Elk City.  Multiple engines, smokejumpers, heavy equipment and hotshot crews responded yesterday with more resources expected today.  The Panther Fire near the Montana Road/ Magruder Corridor was caught early and held to 3 acres.

Two new fires were reported yesterday.  The American Spur, located northeast of Elk City is at 1 acre and crews have responded.  The Bear Gras fire, less than an acre and located near the Gospel Hump wilderness boundary is being monitored.  Ring Fire, located in wilderness and estimated at 75 acres, is being monitored. 

Aerial resources have been successful in holding the Pronghorn fire is currently at 77 acres.  It is burning in timber 3.5 miles north-northeast of the Red River Hot Springs.  Given the potential for extreme fire behavior on this fire in steep terrain, there has been a limited number of firefighters put on the ground to make direct attack.  Fire managers continue to assess opportunities and work on control and mop-up.  An area closure is in effect.

The Patrol Ridge fire (807 acres) has burned onto the Moose Creek Ranger District in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness showed no significant growth in the last 24 hours.  Trail closures remain in effect.  In the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the Rattlesnake Point fire (4,775 acres) also shows minimal activity on the south-facing slope above Bear Creek.   An area closure and trail closures remain on for the safety and protection of the public. 

Salmon River Ranger District (208) 839-2211
The Hanover fire is estimated at 26,485 acres and is 88% contained with most growth to the northwest.  Helicopter work will continue as conditions allow.  It 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 for a total of 92 personnel. Information for the Hanover fire is available at

The Rough Creek fire, started 2 days ago at MP 7 on Big Salmon River Road, is now estimated at 55 acres and already 60% contained.  The Twin Lakes fire, a located 2 miles north of Square Mountain, discovered on September 4, is estimated at 13.5 acres and is burning on both sides of the 383 trail.  The fire is being monitored but remains unstaffed at this time. 

Palouse Ranger District (208) 661-5292.
The Strychnine fire is holding at 1,010 acres burning five miles northeast of Harvard, Idaho.  It is now 60% contained and mop up efforts continue across all divisions.  The fire is being managed by a type 3 incident management organization under the direction of Idaho Department of Lands.  An area closure is in effect.  Information about the fire and closures at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5586.