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TUESDAY: 839 now working the Clearwater Complex fires

Public meetings to be held daily in Kamiah

Not fire, but a glimpse of sunlight through the trees alongside U.S. 12 near Kamiah.

Photo by Andrew Ottoson
Not fire, but a glimpse of sunlight through the trees alongside U.S. 12 near Kamiah.



(This article has been updated. Further updates can be found here.)

Clearwater Complex command has scheduled public meetings to be held daily at The Life Center at 6 p.m. as well as a public meeting today, at 5:30 p.m. at the Syringa Café in Syringa.

The complex totaled 58,116 and is considered 25 percent contained, incident managers reported Tuesday morning. With 839 personnel assigned to the fire -- along with 47 engines, 21 dozers, 34 water tenders and four helicopters -- and weather that will "help the firefighters fight the fire on their terms," mop up and patrol operations are underway in the Kamiah area.

From Greg Poncin's Type I team:

Fire behavior was moderated overnight with cooler temperatures getting as low as 40 degrees. Today’s weather will be dryer and warmer with temperatures in the mid 80’s to the high 90’s. Winds will continue to be light and to the northwest with relative humidity in the high teens. These are favorable fire conditions that help firefighters fight the fire on their terms instead of reacting to weather driven events.

Lawyer 2 Fire – Kamiah, Idaho (31,870 acres)

Mop-up and patrol operations will continue today in the southwestern area of the fire. The objective of mopping up is to extinguish or remove burning and hazardous material from the perimeter inward a specific distance. U.S. Highway 12 remains open to all traffic but may periodically have a pilot car moving traffic through the fire area north of Kamiah.

Lolo 2 Fire – Between Weippe and Woodland, Idaho (3,310 acres)

Work continues along the edge of agricultural fields, tying firelines constructed by private citizens into the handlines firefighters have constructed in the Grouse Creek area. Crews will be strengthening lines behind houses in the Cottonwood Flats area and north of Caribel Road. Another goal for today will be to make progress constructing line along the fingers of timber near Lolo Creek. Efforts at the southeast edge of the fire will focus on reinforcing firelines behind houses east of Kamiah.

Carrot Ridge Fire – Northeast of Pardee, Idaho (4264 acres)

Assisted with a dozer line constructed by a private citizen, firefighters were able to make progress in the Cold Wagon area. Steep terrain in Lolo Creek is presenting a challenge to firefighters, preventing direct line construction. Fire managers are weighing options for possible control measures in this area.

Fisher Fire – Big Canyon area, approximately seven miles north of Craigmont, Idaho.

Crews and equipment will continue the challenging work of not only stopping further up-canyon progression along the fire's southwestern boundary and along the fire's northwestern boundary with new fireline construction, but will also continue patrolling extensive fire perimeter, putting out hotspots in heavy forest fuels and trying to confine the fire to the canyonlands.

Syringa Fires – Northeast of Syringa, Idaho

This includes the Woodrat, Motorway (formerly Big Hill), and Four Bit Fires. The Woodrat Fire continues to be staffed and firefighters continue constructing line around the perimeter. The Four Bit Fire will remain unstaffed.

Additional Info: We have an information center at the Idaho Department of Lands in Kamiah. Fire information and updates can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov or call either (406)309-0371 or (208) 507-2621.

Update (9 a.m. Tuesday): The Tepee Springs Fire, located approximately halfway between Riggins and New Meadows in southern Idaho County, has grown to nearly 6,000 acres. Evacuations are in effect for the East side of U.S. Highway 95 from North of Smokey Boulder Road to South of Hazard Creek Road. Current information is available on Inciweb here. From the Tepee Springs Fire IMT:

The Tepee Springs fire continues to burn intensely and is now 5,971 acres. Due to the steep terrain, fuel load and winds the fire continues to spread. Additional Resources are beginning to arrive at fire camp and are heading out to the line today. There is a structure protection group that is working in the Elk Lake Subdivision to install a sprinkler system. Homeowners are encouraged to FIREWISE their property.

Closures:

The Payette National Forest in the vicinity of TePee Springs Fire is closed to public use. Hazard Campground is closed. No public access is allowed past the cattle guard located 1 mile north of Goose Lake on the Goose Lake Road (Forest Road 257). All visitors within the closed area are being evacuated. The Bureau of Land Management has issued a closure order for Hard/Hazard Creek Road (Forest Road 287) to prevent access to the TePee Springs fire area from the west. In addition they have issued an Area Closure.

Notifications and Evacuations:

The following areas are now in notification. (Definition of notification is as follows: Residents will be notified by the Sheriff’s office to prepare their personal items in case they are asked to evacuate).

West side of Hwy 95 North of Smokey Boulder Road to Elk Lake Road

East side of Hwy 95 South of Smokey Boulder Road to Circle C Road

East Side of Hwy 95 from Hazard Creek Road to Elk Lake Road

Evacuations are in effect for the East side of Hwy 95 from North of Smokey Boulder Road to South of Hazard Creek Road.

Smoke Impacts: We urge the public to slow down while driving Highway 95 from Tamarack Mill to Riggins due to smoke and fire activity. For current information regarding smoke impacts please go to: https://www.deq.idaho.gov/air-quality/burning/current-wildfire-smoke-info.aspx You can find additional information regarding the Tepee Fire at www.inciweb.nwcg.gov or visit us on our Team Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Great-Basin-IMT-7/222155447934166 or the Payette National Forest Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Forest-Service-Payette-National-Forest/667908866639038 . There are other large fires burning in our vicinity that are producing smoke affecting the central Idaho Mountains. To find out about other fires not listed here go to http://idahofireinfo.blogspot.com

And http://inciweb.nwcg.gov The Fire Information Hotline 208-634-0820 is updated with new information as it becomes available. Members of the public interested in receiving fire information updates from the Payette National Forest can request them at payettefireinformation@gmail.com.

Resources on Fire: A Type 2 Management Team assumed command of the Fire at 0600 on August 15, 2015. Team 7, Incident Commander Tony DeMasters.

Crews: six.

Type 1 Helicopters (heavy): two.

Type 2 Helicopters (medium): one.

Type 3 Helicopters (light): one.

Engines: 14.

Dozers: two.

Update (11:30 a.m. Tuesday): "Another good day was had by firefighters on the Red River Ranger District on Monday," Vickie Guthrie of the RRRD reports. From Red River:

Another good day was had by firefighters on the Red River District on Monday. The Hound and Mare Fires in the Newsome Creek drainage are out, as is the Chicken Fire east of Table Meadows. The Table and Squirrel Fires at Table Meadows are controlled and should be out today (Tuesday). The Swale and Swale 2 Fires on the north edge of the township are controlled and should be out today. The Lion Fire on Nugget Point is controlled and should be out today. The Bear Fire east of the Newsome Tribal fish facility is contained.

Firefighters returning from another fire north of Elk City spotted smoke on Erickson Ridge this morning, but so far all efforts to find the fire have been unrewarded. They continue to look for this Rumpus Fire.

The Type 3 incident management organization working on the Deadwood Fire, reports it as 75% contained, with hoses and sprinklers around 90% of the perimeter. Today firefighters are bringing down hazard snags to give crews safe access to perform mop-up. There has been no significant fire activity and it remains at approximately 120 acres.

The Baldy Fire north of Pilot Knob Lookout will remain under the management of the District. Fire Management Officer Josh Bransford is working on a plan of action to ramp up staffing on that fire, both with firefighters on the ground and heavy equipment. The Deer and Pilot Fires in the same vicinity will also be staffed.

The Crown Fire in the Frank Church Wilderness burned actively Monday and is estimated at 200 acres. The Rattlesnake Fire near Crofoot Ranch, also in the wilderness, is also burning actively and backing toward the Salmon River. Firefighters have never been able to find the Noble Fire spotted west of the Big Mallard Trailhead, but air patrol continues to look for any evidence of it. The Little Green Fire near Green Mountain remains unstaffed and, at last report, was about one-half acre.

The Blue Fire southeast of Dixie is showing no smoke.

On the Payette National Forest south of the Salmon River, the Campbell’s Fire has been burning actively and is reported at 2,000 acres. Fire managers have established trigger points for future actions and have structure protection in place on the Jim Moore Place and Campbell’s Ferry.

Copies of closure orders and maps for both Baldy and Deadwood Fires can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices under “Public Notices.”

Update (2:45 p.m. Tuesday): There are currently 74 uncontained wildfires that have burned a total of 67,979 acres on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

From the combined forests:

There are currently 74 uncontained wildfires that have burned a total of 67,979 acres on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. Forest Service fire managers have been focusing their efforts assisting Idaho Department of Lands on fires that pose the most risk to life, property and structures.

There are many unstaffed fires on the forest, as crews are stretched thin. Additional resources continue to be ordered as needed and will arrive when they are available.

There are many closures in place due to fire activity. Fire closures are posted at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices.

Following is a summary of the fires on the Nez Perce-Clearwater Forests:

Red River Ranger District: 1 new fire reported. Three fires are out. The Type 3 incident management organization working on the Deadwood Fire, reports it as 75% contained. There has been no significant fire activity and it remains at approximately 120 acres.

The Baldy Fire north of Pilot Knob Lookout will remain under the management of the District. The Deer and Pilot Fires in the same vicinity will also be staffed.

The Crown Fire in the Frank Church Wilderness burned actively Monday and is estimated at 200 acres. The Rattlesnake Fire near Crofoot Ranch, also in the wilderness, is also burning actively and backing toward the Salmon River.

Lochsa Ranger District: No new fires. Fire staff reported 45 active fires, 2 contained fires, and 3 controlled fires. Seven fires are out. There is an area closure and trail closure in effect on the Lochsa District.

Salmon River Ranger District: No new fires. East Silver Fire is out.

North Fork Ranger District: No new fires. Four fires are out.

Moose Creek Ranger District: 2 fires are out. The district has multiple fires still burning in the front country, five of those are staffed.

The highest priority fire is the Slide fire, 3 miles east of the CCC campground and associated homes. A burnout operation is planned for later this week and supplies, equipment and personnel are enroute. Coolwater Lookout is wrapped for structure protection.

The Wash fire is south of the river in heavily timbered, very steep terrain. Control efforts will consist of constructing feller buncher line on the ridge top.

Wilderness Fires include Meeker, Bailey, Army Mule Barren 1 and 2, Ditch, Ditched, Goat, Rock Pt., Wahoo, Patrol Point, Martin Creek, Pinchot, Sand Creek, Roll Creek, and Gedney are largely unstaffed. Meeker and Bailey are over 1000 acres, Army Mule is around 3500 acres. The Ditch fires are impacting Selway Lodge. The Selway Lodge has structure protection equipment in place. Shissler Lookout has been wrapped.

Powell Ranger District:

Date Started: Army Mule 08/04/15 Jay Point 8/17/15, Lochsa South Complex 08/14/15

Sizes: Army Mule 2200 acres; Jay Point 11 acres; and Lochsa South Complex consists of 11 fires, 4 are currently active with largest, Grit at 500 acers, Lone Knob was very active yesterday at 140 acres.

Total Personnel: 20

Cause: Lightning

Resources: 2- 10 person I.A. modes

Army Mule is located approximately 9 miles Northwest of Elk Summit. Jay Point is on the west side of the lookout, 2 miles west of Powel located on the. The Lochsa South Complex is 11 fires located within the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness, boarding the south side of the Lochsa River.

Decreased winds, average seasonal temperatures but continued low humidity with combined extreme indices kept fire activity moderate in all fire areas. A reconnaissance of Army Mule and Lochsa South complex showed increased behavior on Lone Knob near Wilderness Gateway Campground. A new start was discovered below Jay Point Lookout; this fire has moderate growth potential and can be seen from Highway 12.

A Type 3 incident commander has been ordered for Jay Point fire. Reader boards will also be set along highway 12 to provide visitor information. Due to increased fire behavior on the Lone Knob fire within the Lochsa South Complex a closure order will go into effect at midnight tonight for Wilderness Gateway Campground, trail 2210 (Rock Creek), trail 222 (Greenside Butte), trail 220 (Lochsa Peak), Trail 211 (Boulder Creek) , and trail 198 (Lone Knob). Structure protection mitigation at Wilderness Gateway is on-going.

For more information on the Powell Ranger District fires, please contact Molly Puchlerz at (208) 942-0303.

Forest news releases related to wildfires and other incidents are posted at the http://www.fs.usda.gov/news/nezperceclearwater/news-events.

Information for the Clearwater Complex (Lawyer 2, Lolo 2, Carrot Ridge, Fisher and Syringa fires) and many other fires is available at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov.

With hunting season around the corner and increased recreation through Labor Day weekend it is important to: Know before you go. Always check with your local Ranger Station prior to your trip to get the most up to date information on current fire activity, closures, fire danger, and fire restrictions for the area. Contact information for local Ranger Districts is available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/about-forest/offices.

Currently, all federal lands and all private and state forest and rangelands within the Lochsa-Powell, Moose Creek, North Fork and Red River Ranger Districts, and most of the Salmon River District are under Stage I Fire Restrictions. Stage II Fire Restrictions remain in effect for western portions of the Salmon River district, the Palouse Ranger District and the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area in Idaho. A full description of fire restrictions can be found at the Idaho Fire Information Blogspot website located at: http://idahofireinfo.blogspot.com/.

Owners of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or drones, are reminded that drones are not permitted to fly in areas with Temporary Flight Restrictions in place, including around wildfires. The Federal Aviation

Administration lists current restrictions at: http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html.

Update (9 p.m. Tuesday): Clearwater Complex command's evening update:

August 18, 2015 9:00 p.m.

Clearwater Complex Update

Facts at a Glance

Size: 64,150 total acres

Personnel Assigned: 859 personnel

Cause: Lightning

Cooperating Agencies: US Forest Service; Clearwater Potlatch Timber Protective Association; Lewis and Idaho counties; Nez Perce Tribe; City of Kamiah, Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho State Patrol, nine Rural Fire Departments

Date Started: 08/13/2015 Percent Containment: 25%

Equipment: 56 engines, 19 dozers, 27 water tenders Aircraft Assigned: 4 helicopters

There will be a daily public information meeting held at The Life Center at 6:00 p.m.

A cold front will be moving through the area on Friday bringing with it a chance of thunderstorms and high winds. Firefighters are taking advantage of the lower temperatures, higher humidity, and lighter winds to reinforce fire lines before Friday.

Lawyer 2 Fire – Kamiah, Idaho (31,870 acres)

Firefighters worked toward mopping up 100 feet in from the perimeter. Patrol operations continued today in all areas of the fire. U.S. Highway 12 remains open to all traffic but may periodically have a pilot car moving traffic through the fire area north of Kamiah.

Lolo 2 Fire – Between Weippe and Woodland, Idaho (3,310 acres)

Firefighters worked along the edge of the fire strengthening firelines constructed by private citizens. Crews continued strengthening lines behind houses in the Cottonwood Flats area and north of Caribel Road, while efforts in the southeast edge of the fire focus on reinforcing firelines behind houses east of Kamiah.

Carrot Ridge Fire – Northeast of Pardee, Idaho (4264 acres)

The fire made runs into the Texas Creek canyon and Schmidt Creek canyon area. Retardant was used to slow the fire’s progress.

Fisher Fire – Big Canyon area, approximately seven miles north of Craigmont, Idaho.

Today, crews continued improving and holding existing fireline, mopping up hotspots (particularly in heavily-forested areas along Six Mile and Big Canyons, and continued to patrol other containment lines.

Syringa Fires – Northeast of Syringa, Idaho

This includes the Motorway, Woodrat, Big Hill, and Four Bit Fires. The Woodrat Fire is staffed with firefighters and equipment and line construction around the perimeter has begun.

Additional Info: We have an information center at the Idaho Department of Lands in Kamiah. Fire information and updates can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov or call either (406)309-0371 or (208) 507-2621

(This article has been updated. Further updates can be found here.)



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