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Monday, September 4, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update - Sept. 4


Kamiah, Idaho (September 4, 2017) – Potential for extreme fire behavior on many of the fires exists under the current weather conditions.  In the interest of public safety and protection, many trails, some roads and a few areas are closed because of fire activity on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.  For full details and maps, please visit the forest website atwww.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices.

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.  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 (23,333 acres) grew somewhat in upper Boulder Creek north of Marten Hill.  The fire is holding in the Sheep Creek drainage and continues backing into Porcupine Creek.  If conditions permit, the incident commander intends to make aerial reconnaissance of the fire today.  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.   Information for the Hanover fire is available athttps://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5459/.  

The Center Ridge fire (250 acres) is staffed by seven personnel and an engine with the expectation that it will be controlled today.  The Square fire (.25 acre) is out.

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

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District
Andys Hump fire (330 acres), 2 miles east of Coolwater Lookout, is burning on the north and south sides of Coolwater Ridge, on the Lochsa/Powell and Moose Creek Ranger Districts.  Structure protection measures are in place on the Coolwater Lookout. This fire is being managed for resource benefits, utilizing point protection strategies. The Glover fire (approx. 100 aces) is burning 3.5 miles east of Coolwater Lookout.  The Little Weitas fire (approx. 30 acres) is burning in heavy timber 0.75 miles north of Little Weitas Butte.  The Liz Butte fire (approx. 80 acres), 0.5 miles north of the Liz Butte cabin, is staffed and structure protection measures continue for the cabin.  If conditions permit, aerial reconnaissance will occur today.  Liz Butte Road 560 is closed to the cabin.  The Old Man fire (approx. 650 acres) is one mile southwest of Huckleberry Butte in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. 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.  Various trail and road closures are in effectfor the safety and protection of the public.   For information on these fires and closures, please call the Kooskia office at (208) 926-4274.

The Hidden fire, at Hidden Lake in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness, has grown to 10,335 acres.   It was active on both the east and west Sunday, with continued growth south of the confluence of Colt Killed and Big Sand Creeks and within the Big Flat Creek drainage.  Infrared imagery shows two spot fires crossed the Idaho/Montana border into the Fred Burr Creek drainage on the Bitterroot National Forest, within 500 feet of the border.  If conditions allow, helicopter water drops on the spots may occur today.  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.

Palouse Ranger District
The Strychnine fire (estimated 800 acres) is burning five miles northeast of Harvard, Idaho.  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.  Additional closures are in place on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests and can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices.  Information about the fire and closures are available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5586/ or by calling (208) 661-5292.

Moose Creek Ranger District
The Falls fire (30 acres) in the Falls Creek drainage is 100% lined and continues to be monitored and patrolled. 

The Andys Hump fire (reported above on the Lochsa/Powell Ranger District) is also burning on the Moose Creek Ranger District.  The fire has spotted to the south and southeast.  Closures are in effect. 

The Brushy fire (102 acres) and the Freeman fire (376 acres) are new fires burning in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  The Lone Pine fire (12,369 acres) grew significantly to the east and 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) showed active growth in the area north and northwest of Freeman Peak where it has moved into the Freeman Creek drainage and is about .10 mile from the Freeman fire.  Other fires in the wilderness include:  Crow 1 fire (91 acres), Crow 2 fire (120 acres), and Crow 3 fire (8 acres) all in the Crow Creek drainage; the Gardiner Fork fire (10-15 acres) near Gardiner Peak; the Wylies Ridge fire (20-30 acres) 2.5 miles southwest of Shearer Peak; the Ditch Creek fire (4 acres) in the vicinity of Wylies Peak; 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; Isaac Lake fire (1,416 acres) 0.5 miles west of Isaac Lake; Dodge fire (50 acres); Pettibone fire (307 acres), 5 miles northeast of Selway Lodge; and Lonesome fire (23 acres), .5 miles north-northeast of Wylies Peak.  Various 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.
For more information on fire activity or area closures on the Moose Creek Ranger District, please call (208) 926-4258.
Red River Ranger District
Aerial resources have been successful in holding the Pronghorn fire (mapped at 48 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, it has been unsafe to put firefighters on the ground to make direct attack; however, fire managers continue to assess opportunities.  Weather will be a determining factor in the decision.  In the meantime, it will be addressed by air.  Jodi            Baxter, a type 3 incident commander, has taken over management of the fire.  An area closure is in effect for the protection and safety of the public.

The Patrol Ridge fire at 807 acres, was moderately active Sunday, growing steadily around the perimeter.  It is now burning on the Moose Creek Ranger District in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  Trail closures remain in effect.  In the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the Rattlesnake Point fire (4,775 acres) 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.

For more information on fire activity or closures on the Red River Ranger District, please call (208) 842-2245.

For fire information on many of these fires, please visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/13/#