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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update - September 6th


Kamiah, Idaho (September 6, 2017) – Despite the dense smoke and poor air quality settling over the area in the last 48 hours, fires across the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests experienced minimal growth as the inversion has helped keep temperatures relatively low.  Fire managers continue full suppression tactics on fires where potential risk to life and property is greatest. 

The Andy’s Hump fire experienced the most activity and growth in recent days; doubling in size in the last 24 hours the fire is now estimated at 1,056 acres.  The lightning caused fire started August 30 on the Moose Creek and Lochsa/Powell Ranger Districts.  Full suppression and structure protection strategies are in place. Given the limited availability of firefighting resources, suppression work is focused in the Lowell area.  A public meeting is scheduled for this Friday, September 8th at 6:00 p.m. at the Fenn Ranger Station Visitor Center.  

Many trails, some roads and other larger areas across the Forests are closed for public and firefighter safety, with the potential for more closures to go into effect.  Forest visitors are encouraged to check current information - full details and maps, please visit the forest website at www.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/  The Palouse Ranger District is divided by the Coeur D’Alene and Grangeville Dispatch Zones.  The portion of the Palouse Ranger District located in the Coeur d’Alene Dispatch Zone (which includes Laird Park, Giant White Pine, and Bald Mountain Campgrounds) is in Stage II fire restriction and the portion located in the Grangeville Dispatch Zone is in Stage I fire restrictions.  For more information, please call the Palouse Ranger District at 208-875-1131. 

CURRENT STATUS BY DISTRICT
Lochsa/Powell Ranger District
The Andys Hump fire is now estimated at 1,056 acres.  The fire moved over a mile to the northwest down Knife Edge Ridge and to the west above Kerr and Lottie Creeks.  Heavy equipment line is currently being established around Lowell.   A Type 3 team will take command of the fire tomorrow.  All resources have been pulled off the hill with the main focus being on the structure protection around Lowell.  Structure protection measures are in place on the Coolwater Lookout.

The Glover fire (approx. 100 aces) is burning 3.5 miles east of Coolwater Lookout.  The Little Weitas fire (approx. 70 acres) is burning in heavy timber 0.75 miles north of Little Weitas Butte.  The Liz Butte fire (approx. 400 acres), 0.5 miles north of the Liz Butte cabin, is staffed and structure protection measures are now in place for the cabin.  If conditions permit, aerial reconnaissance will occur today. 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.  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 effect for 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, is now estimated at 10,689 acres, with relatively minimal growth again yesterday of 160 acres primarily in the Big Flat drainage.  When conditions allow, helicopter water drops on the spots near the Montana border may occur today.  Trail closures remain in effect for the safety and protection of the public.  For information on the Hidden fire or closures, please call the Powell office at (208) 942-3113.

Salmon River Ranger District
The Hanover fire (24, 854 acres) grew just 490 acres yesterday as dense smoke conditions in the area limited temperatures.  The fire is holding in the Sheep Creek drainage and continues backing into Porcupine Creek.  If conditions permit, helicopter work will continue.  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 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.  The Center Ridge fire (250 acres) is controlled and being monitored by air.  For more information on fire activity or closures on Salmon River Ranger District, please call (208) 839-2211.

Palouse Ranger District
The Strychnine fire (estimated 950 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.  Firefighters made good progress yesterday putting in direct line and remain optimistic about progress to be made during today’s operational period.  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.  See above for more information.  

The Brushy fire (102 acres) and the Freeman fire (376 acres) are  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; theDitch 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).  Good progress was made in the last 48 hours with fireline established along the north ridge of the perimeter, northeast toward Meadow Creek, and along the west edge.   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 for the protection and safety of the public.

The Patrol Ridge (807 acres) burning on 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.  For fire information on many of these fires, please visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/13/# . For more information on fire activity or closures on the Red River Ranger District, please call (208) 842-2245.

Forest and Fire Management Staff consider 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 .