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THURSDAY: “Super Scoopers” have arrived; Clearwater Complex reorganized

A column of smoke erupts from the Baldy Fire, near Pilot Knob, as seen from the Grangeville area Aug. 20.

Photo by Sarah Klement
A column of smoke erupts from the Baldy Fire, near Pilot Knob, as seen from the Grangeville area Aug. 20.



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Beginning August 20, a Canadian CL-415 Super Scooper will be supporting firefighting efforts for the Clearwater, Municipal and Motorway Complex Fires. The CL-415 can skim across the surface of a lake or reservoir and scoop 1,600 gallons of water to fill its tank. It can drop the 1600 gallons in one drop, or can drop two partial loads of 800 gallons each. The water drops take place from a height of between 100 to 150 feet. The water source needs to be a minimum of 6 feet and allow for a 3-4 foot draft for the scoop. The turnaround between drops is quick if the water source is nearby, for instance, if the fire is within 6 miles of the fire, the turnaround is only 6 minutes. Dwarshak Reservoir, which is 4 miles northeast of Orofino, will be the water source for the CL-415 on the complex fires. The Super Scooper needs a runway capable of supporting 36,000 pounds. It will be based at the Lewiston airport for these missions. The CL-415 is power washed with hot water when it changes locations to prevent any possible spreading of aquatic invasive species.

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

Command of the Fisher Fire (21,640 acres) transferred to Mike Wilkins’ Southern Blue Team and command of the Wood Rat Fire (2,806 acres) transferred to Kuisko’s North Idaho Team at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, so it is also no longer included in Clearwater Complex (39,200 acres). (All together, nearly 64,000 acres.) There will not be a fire information meeting in Kamiah on Thursday. However, a public meeting will be held in Fraser today at 6 p.m. at the Fraser Community Center.

Air resources available today include two CL-415 “Super Scooper” Canadian air tankers stationed at the Lewiston airport to support fire suppression efforts in northern Idaho. Clearwater Complex fire information officer Mike Cole said the "Super Scoopers" will be using Dworshak Reservoir for a water source. Cole said these aircraft may be seen working in the Kidder Ridge area today.

From Clearwater Complex Command:

Clearwater Complex Update

Thursday, August 20, 2015 8:00 a.m.

There will not be a fire information meeting in Kamiah on Thursday. However, a public meeting will be held in Fraser today at 6:00pm at the Fraser Community Center.

Weather: Temperatures did not cool down overnight as in the last few nights. High temperatures today will range from the upper 80’s to low 90’s, relatively humidity’s will drop to 12-14%, and winds will gust to 18 mph. A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for tomorrow with winds expected in the 20 to 25 mph range.

Yesterday’s Actions: Firefighters worked to mop up 100 feet in from the perimeter in the Lawyer’s Canyon area. Structure protection groups continued to assess and respond to smoke and flame reports near residences in the area. Firefighters continued the work on the hay pile that is burning off of Hwy 162. Direct line construction was done from East Kamiah to Church Canyon to Kidder Ridge. Along Caribel Road (near Harrisburg Road) southeast toward Lolo Creek crews constructed line and mopped up hot spots. The Navajo Interagency Hot Shots worked in the Cottonwood Flats area building direct line. South of Greer and along Highway 11 firefighters strengthened and held the fire line. While working on mop up operations, crews continued assessing and responding to smoke and flare ups in the vicinity of structures.

Overnight, fire crews conducted a successful burning operation along the edge of Lolo Creek Canyon, northeast of Woodland that connected the Carrot Ridge Fire to the Lolo 2 Fire. This action consisted of a slow-moving backing fire that began backing down the canyon and has helped prepare the area for the higher northerly winds forecasted for Friday. According to Operations Section Chief Mark Goeller, the burning operation “did exactly what we wanted it to.”

Today’s Plans: Firefighters will mop-up and patrol the burnout area in Lolo Creek. Along Caribel Road (near Harrisburg Road) southeast toward Lolo Creek, crews will continue constructing direct line. Crews will mop-up along Forest Service Road 100 and construct fire line in the Church Canyon area. In all divisions of the fire, crews will respond to structure protection needs as requested. Air resources available today include two CL-415 “Super Scooper” Canadian air tankers that are stationed at the Lewiston airport and are available to support fire suppression efforts in northern Idaho.

Closures: U.S. Highway 12 and 11 remain open to all traffic, but may periodically have a pilot car moving traffic through the fire area.

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.

Facts at a Glance

Size: 39,200 total acres* Date Started: 08/13/2015 Percent Containment: 30%

Personnel Assigned: 683 personnel Equipment: 39 engines, 20 dozers, 33 water tenders Cause: Lightning Aircraft Assigned: 4 helicopters

Cooperating Agencies: Idaho Department of Lands, 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

*Command of the Fisher Fire (21,640 acres) transferred to Mike Wilkins’ Southern Blue Team at 8:00am on August, so it is no longer included in the Clearwater Complex acreage. Command of the Wood Rat Fire (2,806 acres) transferred to Kuisko’s North Idaho Team at 8:00pm on Wednesday, so it is also no longer included in Clearwater Complex acreage.

Update (9:45 a.m. Thursday): The Tepee Springs Fire has grown to nearly 7,000 acres midway between Riggins and New Meadows. There will be a public information meeting at 6 p.m. MT tonight in Riggins. From Tepee Springs incident command:

The fire continues to advance down Hazard Creek towards Hard Creek. Firefighters made good progress yesterday and will continue to construct line. Fire managers are urging the public to use caution when traveling in this area due to traffic congestion and are urging the public to continue traveling past the fire and not stopping along the roadway. There may also be fire support vehicles in the area that will need efficient and safe access along Highway 95. Firefighters are continuing to assess structures in the vicinity of the fire area. The assessments are being prepared to help support the long term plan in development for this high priority fire. Stage 1 Fire Restrictions for the Payette National Forest go into effect on August 21, 2015.

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 junction of Brundage Reservoir and Goose Lake Road (Forest Road 257). Additionally all FS land west of Brundage Road to the Forest boundary in the Meadows Valley are closed. Last Chance Campground is included in this closure. 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.

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 or 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

Update (noon Thursday): The Wash Fire mushroomed to 5,000 acres yesterday, and the Baldy Fire (450 acres) continued to grow. From the Red River Ranger District:

A large smoke column was visible from Elk City Wednesday when the Wash Fire north of the township on the Moose Creek Ranger District demonstrated extreme behavior in the late afternoon. It was last reported at an estimated 5,000 acres. An infrared camera Wednesday night showed the fire over a mile north of Horse Creek. Both the Wash Fire and the 450-acre Baldy Fire north of Pilot Knob Lookout will be posted on Inciweb in the near future.

A cold front is expected to move into the area Friday, bringing with it gusty winds that will affect fire behavior. Temperatures should be in the mid-70’s, with relative humidity in the 25 to 30% range.

There were no new fires and six fires were called out on the District Wednesday. Firefighters have made good progress on the Deadwood Fire near Summit Flats. It has held at 120 acres and mop-up operations are well underway. On the 1.5 acre Bear Fire east of the Tribal fish facility on Newsome Road (#1858), the line is holding and the perimeter is being mopped up.

Fires in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness include the Rattlesnake Fire that originated near Crofoot Ranch and has burned northeast toward Sheep Hill Lookout and south to Rattlesnake Bar on the Salmon River, and the Crown Fire near Crown Point. A trail closure has been implemented for various trails in the vicinity of these fires. Details and a map of the closures can be found at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices under Public Notices.

The Payette National Forest reports that the Campbells Fire burning south of the Salmon River is an estimated 1,750 acres. It has not crossed the river to the north. Details for that fire and the closure order affecting it can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4521.

New wildfires can be reported to the Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Center at 208-983-6800, or to the Idaho County Sheriff’s office at 208-983-1100.

Update (12:30 p.m. Thursday): A summary of fire activity from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests:

Firefighters are making progress on many fires across the Nez Perce-Clearwater Forests, despite minimal resources available. A cold front is expected to move into the area Friday, bringing with it gusty winds that will affect fire behavior. Temperatures should be in the mid-70’s, with relative humidity in the 25 to 30% range.

Following is a summary of fire activity in the Nez Perce-Clearwater Forests:

Moose Creek Ranger District:

New fires: 0

Active fires: The Moose Creek Ranger District has multiple fires still burning in the front country. Wart Creek, Falls Point 3, Copper Indian fires are staffed. North and South O’Hara,

Staffing is minimal as most resources are committed to higher priority fires around structures.

Contained fires: 0

Controlled fires: 0

Area and Trail Closures: Trail closures will be in effect today.

Special Note: The Motorway Complex is comprised of several fires on the Lochsa-Powell, North Fork, and Moose Creek Ranger Districts including Woodrat, Big Hill, Wash, Slide, and a group of fires located near the Lolo Motorway. The Woodrat fire has also burned onto lands managed by the Maggie Creek Protection District. The Motorway Complex, like many other fires in the area, is the result of recent lightning storms. Rick Kusicko’s North Idaho Incident Management Team (IMT) assumed command of the Complex at 7:00 a.m. today. Please contact the fire information line, at 208-926-4170 or motorwaycomplex@gmail.com. As always, check fire information and updates on http://inciweb.nwcg.gov.

North Fork Ranger District:

New fires: 0

Name of fire(s): Larkin Complex (Snow, Upper Twin, Twin, Roaring, Heather, Minnesaka) Snow is the largest at 400 acres. Wolf Pack (Wolf 1-4) - 10 acres total. Indian Henry fire – 1.5 acres

Active fires: 11

Contained fires: 0

Controlled fires: 0

Area and Trail Closures: None

Salmon River Ranger District:

New fires: 1

Name of fire: Moonshine

Location of fire: Moonshine Timber Sale – FS Road 9315 – Moon Creek/Florence Area

Active fires: 0 – Moonshine Fire was .25 acre, was controlled and called out on 8/19.

Contained fires: 0

Controlled fires: 0

Area and Trail Closures: There is an area closure on the Salmon River Ranger District associated with the Baldy Fire.

Lochsa Ranger District:

New fires: 0

Active fires: 49

Contained fires: 3

Controlled fires: 3

Area and Trail Closures: Area closure on the Lochsa District area north of Highway 12 in effect. Trail closures in effect on south side of Lochsa District from Wilderness Gateway Campground.

Powell Ranger District:

New fires: 0

Active fires: 18

Contained fires: 0

Controlled fires: Post Office Fire out today.

Area and Trail Closures: Army Mule Fire closure.

Special Note: Army Mule 2300 acres; Jay Point 50 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 200 acres. Please note: No Infra-red flights were available so the acres have not been updated, but Jay Point is estimated to be 50 acres.

Red River Ranger District:

New fires: 0

Active fires: 7

Contained fires: 0

Controlled fires: 0

Area and Trail Closures: Baldy, Deadwood and wilderness fires.

Fire closure orders are posted at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices. Please check back regularly as conditions and closures change frequently.

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.

New wildfires can be reported to the Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Center at 208-983-6800, or to the Idaho County Sheriff’s office at 208-983-1100.

The entry above was updated at 4 p.m. to include the Red River Ranger District fact sheet.

Update (2:30 p.m. Thursday): The community of Greer is being notified to start preparing to evacuate. From Clearwater County, clearwatercounty.org, at 2 p.m.:

THE COMMUNITY OF GREER HAS JUST BEEN PLACED ON A LEVEL 1 EVACUATION ALERT. A level 1 alert means starting preparing to relocate. ... A level 1 alert means starting preparing to relocate. See tips on how to prepare on the county's website www.clearwatercounty.org. Click on "Evacuation Suggestions."

Update (2:30 p.m. Thursday): From Municipal Complex command:

Municipal Fire: The Municipal Fire saw no growth yesterday. 1,763 acres have been burned and the fire is still estimated to be at 30% containment. One of the divisions yesterday successfully defended a home from creeping fire by installing a dozier line and stopping its advance. Crews successfully monitored the situation through the night. Small pockets of unburned will continue to burn today as the fire moves through the interior. Fresh crews from Canada and Alaska will be working today on the fire. The local fire departments have done, and continue to do, an outstanding job in fighting this fire and protecting homes and businesses in and around Orofino, ID.

Greer Fire: The Greer Fire is estimated to have covered 73 acres and is estimated to be 90% contained. Crews will be mapping this fire today to further substantiate the acreage burned. There are containment lines around the fire and mop-up efforts continue. There is still some heat present and some interior burning may occur throughout the day. Firefighters are working to get the containment lines more secure before the forecasted cold front moves through Friday.

Fisher Fire: The Fisher Fire is estimated to have covered about 21,640 acres. Although firefighters have constructed fireline along the southwest corner of the fire, in the upper end of Big Canyon crews have been unable to complete line construction. Operations will continue to make an assessment today of this area in order effect the best plan. Much of the fire perimeter now is in mop-up and patrol status, and the Fisher Fire is currently estimated at 60% containment. Today the Fisher fire welcomes a fresh crew from neighboring Canada as well as two crews from Alaska.

Update (2:45 p.m. Thursday): From Motorway Complex command:

Within the Motorway Complex, the Woodrat, Slide, and Wash fires will be listed individually. The fires located near the Lolo Motorway, approximately 7 miles east of Pierce and Weippe, will be identified as the Motorway fires.

Woodrat - The Woodrat fire is actively burning 1 mile north and west of the community of Syringa. Due to yesterday’s fire movement to the southeast and a spot across the Swan Creek road, the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office issued a Level II evacuation warning for the Syringa and Smith Creek road areas. The fire is also a threat to residences in the Suttler Creek Drainage and along Highway 12.

Local crews have made good headway on the west, northwest, and southwest flanks of the fire. So today, firefighters will capitalize and continue to secure that containment line. New resources are arriving including dozers, engines, water tenders, and a Hot Shot crew to aid in opening existing roads and constructing new line.

Operations Section Chief, Randy McKenzie, emphasized that, “We’ll be hitting the southeast flank of the fire above Syringa hard today.”

Crews will be continuing structure assessments along Smith Creek road and the Syringa area.

Weather permitting, small burnout operations could take place to clean up and secure existing fire lines, particularly along the southern boundary.

Slide – The Slide fire is burning in open pine and Douglas fir stands on steep south facing slopes above the Selway River. The fire is threatening homes, private holdings, and the Historic Fenn Ranger Station to the east. Crews are assessing and prepping homes for structure protection along the Selway road from CCC trail down river to the Fenn Ranger Station. In addition, fire personnel will also begin to evaluate the wooden bridges along the Selway River that have the potential to be impacted by advancing fire.

Wash – The Wash fire is actively burning 8 miles east of Lowell, Idaho and approximately 5 miles east of the homes located along the Selway River. The fire is threatening grazing allotments and could be a potential threat to other areas to the south and west.

The fire is currently estimated at 5,000 acres and is burning in heavy fir and cedar along the north facing slopes of the Selway River. Fire behavior has been erratic and the fire has grown rapidly up slope and up canyon. A Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered for the Slide and Wash fires, but will continue to be managed by the Motorway Complex Rick Kusicko’s team until they arrive.

Motorway – The Motorway fires are located in the area referred to as the Lolo Motorway. Some of these fires are impacting local grazing allotments and have the potential to affect the communities of Pierce and Weippe. Currently crews are assessing and opening roads to access the fire perimeter and construct line.

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A column of smoke erupts from the Baldy Fire, near Pilot Knob, as seen from the Grangeville area Aug. 20.

Update (3:30 p.m. Thursday): A large smoke column was visible from Elk City Wednesday when the Wash Fire north of the township on the Moose Creek Ranger District demonstrated extreme behavior in the late afternoon. On Thursday afternoon, a large plume erupted from the Baldy Fire, which is burning near Pilot Knob.

Update (4:30 p.m. Thursday): U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today made the following statement:

"This year, we are experiencing yet another devastating wildfire season, particularly in the drought-ravaged West. Climate change, drought, fuel buildup, insects and disease are increasing the severity of unprecedented wildfire in America's forests and rangelands, which impacts the safety of people, homes and communities. Development close to forests has also increased the threat to property, with more than 46 million homes in the United States, or about 40 percent of our nation's housing, potentially at risk from wildfire. USDA works closely with the Department of Interior and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, along with other partners, to deploy the workforce, equipment, and interagency coordination necessary to respond safely and effectively to increasingly severe wildfire seasons. We are expending in excess of $150 million per week on fire suppression activities, and that will likely grow in the days and weeks ahead. Well over 26,000 firefighters and support personnel from federal, state and local agencies are deployed, along with 28 next generation and legacy air tankers, and additional aviation assets. We are now working with the U.S. Military and foreign partners, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, to bring in additional resources.

"One of our most critical assets in this fight is the courageous firefighters who work on the front lines. There are more firefighters on the ground today fighting fires than at any time in the nation's history. They work nights, weekends and holidays under difficult circumstances. While we do everything we can to reduce risk and ensure their safety, our firefighting personnel have been particularly hard hit this year. We've now lost seven precious lives over the course of this fire season, including three firefighters who perished just yesterday in Washington, and many more have been injured in the line of duty. We mourn for those lost, offer support to their families and loved ones, and pray for the continued recovery of those injured.

"Secretary Jewell and I not only share common concerns for the safety of our firefighting crews, but also share a common goal of restoring resilient forests and protecting against future fire outbreaks. Over the next few weeks, we anticipate the fire season will continue to intensify, putting lives and property at risk. As the fire season endures, we will continue to employ every available resource to protect our nation's forests, our families and our communities."

Update (4:30 p.m. Thursday): Now on Inciweb, pages for the Wood Rat, Wash and Slide fires, which are part of the Motorway Complex.

Update (5:30 p.m. Thursday): Per Idaho County Sheriff's Office:

Powell is now under Level 1 evacuation status due to the J Point Fire burning 3 miles west/southwest. Residents should be aware of the danger and monitor the areas around them. Residents with special needs or those with pets or livestock should make preparations for relocating.

Update (6 p.m. Thursday): The source of a large plume of smoke seen from the Grangeville area appears to be a fire burning on the Weippe side of Lolo Creek. Evacuations and notices have been issued in that area. Per Clearwater County:

Timberline High School has been opened to those evacuating and needing shelter; Three Mile Road and the west side of Three Mile Road and Lombard Road in Weippe have been put on a Level 3 evacuation. This means you need to leave immediately. Sheriff's Office personnel are making contact with residents. The City of Weippe is on a Level 2 evacuation alert, which means be prepared to leave immediately.

Update (6:30 p.m. Thursday): More from Clearwater County:

If you have evacuated and have reached a safe location, please call 476-4064 to let County personnel know your location so you can be contacted when it is safe to return to your residence.

Update (8:30 p.m. Thursday): From Kristen Wright in Reubens:

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Grizzly Bear Complex smoke on the Camas Prairie near Reubens

Update (9:45 p.m. Thursday): Evening update from the Motorway Complex:

The Motorway Complex is comprised of several fires on the Lochsa-Powell, North Fork, and Moose Creek Ranger Districts including Woodrat, Big Hill, Wash, Slide, and a group of fires located near the Lolo Motorway. The Woodrat fire has also burned onto lands managed by the Maggie Creek Protection District. The Motorway Complex, like many other fires in the area, is the result of recent lightning storms. Rick Kusicko’s North Idaho Incident Management Team (IMT) assumed command of the Complex at 7:00 a.m. today. The Motorway Complex, Incident Command Post (ICP), is being established at the Kooskia airstrip.

To aid the general public with the large amount of fire information, Fire Information officers from all teams within the Kamiah and Kooskia areas will be coordinating the dissemination of information. Within the Motorway Complex, the Woodrat, Slide, and Wash fires will be listed individually. The fires located near the Lolo Motorway, approximately 7 miles east of Pierce and Weippe, will be identified as the Motorway fires.

Woodrat - The Woodrat fire is actively burning 1 mile north and west of the community of Syringa. Due to yesterday’s fire movement to the southeast and a spot across the Swan Creek road, the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office issued a Level II evacuation warning for the Syringa and Smith Creek road areas. The fire is also a threat to residences in the Suttler Creek Drainage and along Highway 12.

Local crews have made good headway on the west, northwest, and southwest flanks of the fire. So today, firefighters will capitalize and continue to secure that containment line. New resources are arriving including dozers, engines, water tenders, and a Hot Shot crew to aid in opening existing roads and constructing new line. Operations Section Chief, Randy McKenzie, emphasized that, “We’ll be hitting the southeast flank of the fire above Syringa hard today.”

Crews will be continuing structure assessments along Smith Creek road and the Syringa area.

Weather permitting, small burnout operations could take place to clean up and secure existing fire lines, particularly along the southern boundary.

Slide – The Slide fire is burning in open pine and Douglas fir stands on steep south facing slopes above the Selway River. The fire is threatening homes, private holdings, and the Historic Fenn Ranger Station to the east. Crews are assessing and prepping homes for structure protection along the Selway road from CCC trail down river to the Fenn Ranger Station. In addition, fire personnel will also begin to evaluate the wooden bridges along the Selway River that have the potential to be impacted by advancing fire.

Wash – The Wash fire is actively burning 8 miles east of Lowell, Idaho and approximately 5 miles east of the homes located along the Selway River. The fire is threatening grazing allotments and could be a potential threat to other areas to the south and west.

The fire is currently estimated at 5,000 acres and is burning in heavy fir and cedar along the north facing slopes of the Selway River. Fire behavior has been erratic and the fire has grown rapidly up slope and up canyon. A Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered for the Slide and Wash fires, but will continue to be managed by Rick Kusicko’s team until they arrive.

Motorway – The Motorway fires are located in the area referred to as the Lolo Motorway. Some of these fires are impacting local grazing allotments and have the potential to affect the communities of Pierce and Weippe. Currently crews are assessing and opening roads to access the fire perimeter and construct line.

The National Weather Service in Missoula has issued a Fire Weather Watch which will be in affect from Friday morning through Friday Evening. The Fire Weather watch is for gusty winds, 10-20 MPH, gusting to 30 MPH and low relative humidity, 14-20 percent. These conditions could result in significant fire growth on many fires in the Motorway Complex, as well as create unsafe conditions for firefighters and the public. Reducing risk to firefighters and the public is the first priority in every fire management activity.

Evacuations: Level II evacuations are in place for Syringa, Smith Creek road, and Suttler Creek road. Level II evacuations indicate that residents need to be prepared to leave their homes at a moment’s notice.

Road Closures & Special Announcements: A Public Meeting will be held at the Syringa Café today at 5:30p.m. Fire Managers will also attend a community meeting at the Big Cedar Community School at 7:00 p.m. today. Significant Forest area closures are in affect due to wildfire activity and can be located at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices. Please check back regularly as conditions and closures change frequently.

Update (10:30 p.m. Thursday): From the Clearwater Complex:

Size: 40,181 total acres· Date Started: 08/10/2015

Percent Containment: 30% Personnel Assigned: 784 personnel Equipment: 47 engines, 20 dozers, 29 water tenders Cause: Lightning Aircraft Assigned: 4 helicopters

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

·Command of the Fisher Fire transferred to Mike Wilkins’ Southern Area Blue Team at 8:00am on August 19, so it is no longer included in the Clearwater Complex acreage. Command of the Woodrat Fire transferred to Kusicko’s North Idaho Team at 8:00pm on August 19, so it is also no longer included in Clearwater Complex acreage.

Weather: High temperatures today ranged from the upper 80s to low 90s, relative humidity dropped to 15%, and winds were 10 to 15 mph. A Red Flag Warning will be in effect on Friday from 8am until 8pm with winds at 15 to 20 mph, gusting to 25 mph. Cold front passage is forecast for 2:00pm. The high temperature will be in the upper 70s and relative humidity will drop to around 20%.

Today’s Actions: Firefighters mopped up and patrolled the burnout area in Lolo Creek north of Woodland. Along Caribel Road (near Harrisburg Road) southeast toward Lolo Creek, crews continued constructing direct line. Firefighters mopped up along Forest Service Road 100 and constructed fire line in the Church Canyon area. In all divisions of the fire, crews responded to structure protection needs as requested. Air resources used today included a CL-415 “Super Scooper” Canadian air tanker that was engaged in the Schmidt Creek area.

Tomorrow’s Plans: Firefighters will continue to prepare for the higher winds that are forecast for Friday afternoon by reinforcing lines and will also respond to structure protection needs. The dozer line in Poverty Gulch that was completed today will be strengthened.

Evacuations: A Level 3 evacuation was issued on Thursday afternoon for the west side of Three Mile Road and Lombard Road near Weippe. Timberline High School is being opened to serve as an evacuation center. For more information, go to http://www.clearwatercounty.org/

Closures: Highways 12 and 11 remain open to all traffic, but they may periodically have a pilot car moving traffic through the fire area.

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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