Fire at Syringa
(This article has been updated. Further updates can be found here.)
Yesterday, the National Weather Service in Missoula yesterday issued a Red Flag warning that takes effect 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. PT today, across the region, including the Palouse, Hells Canyon, and the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. The Weather Service is anticipating gusty winds and low humidities, with southwest winds 10 to 20 miles per hour gusting to 30 miles per hour. Minimum humidities of 14 to 19 percent are expected.
So yesterday, operators under the Clearwater Complex incident management team constructed lines along Caribel Road near Harrisburg Road southeast toward Lolo Creek. The previous night, they conducted a burnout in Lolo Creek to tie their Lolo 2 and Carrot Ridge lines together, so Thursday's work included patrolling the burnout area in Lolo Creek. But under the advancing winds, the fire made a run along the north side of a 2013 burn scar, spotting out north of Woodland. They caught the spot fire at 10 acres and began to mop it up. But it goes to show: with stiffer winds today, the risks are high in the Kamiah area.
The Kamiah area -- especially Upper Glenwood, Lower Kidder Ridge, Top of Lolo Creek on Caribel and Woodland -- remains under Stage 2 evacuation notice and the Syringa/Smith Creek Road communities are under Stage 2 evacuation notices, meaning residents of these areas should be prepared to leave at a moment's notice. Current information is available through the Idaho County Sheriff's Office Facebook page, here.
Update (9:15 a.m. Friday): Clearwater Complex command's morning update:
Weather: Red Flag Warning today from 8am until 8pm. Winds will increase during the morning to 12 to 18mph around noon and then 15 to 20mph with gusts to 25mph as a cold front passes through the area. Relative humidity will drop to 20 to 25% and high temperatures will be in the upper 70s and low 80s.
Yesterday’s Actions: Fire activity increased in the Poverty Gulch and Three Mile Road areas. Crews provided protection for structures and watched for spot fires. Aircraft including CL-415 “Super Scoopers” were used to slow the fire’s spread in these areas. The fire also made a run to the southeast, skirting the north side of the 2013 Incendiary Fire. Embers from this activity resulted in a 10-acre spot fire north of Woodland. Crews were able to construct a line around it and begin mop-up. Firefighters completed a dozer line near the Shenandoah Subdivision, providing additional protection to that area.
Today’s Plans: Firefighters are preparing for the higher winds that are forecast for today and will be diligent as winds switch from the southwest to the northwest in the early afternoon. They will continue to secure existing fire lines, provide structure protection, and will remain ready to respond to flare-ups. Crews will mop-up along the 10-acre spot north of Woodland and continue to secure the line constructed during Wednesday’s firing operation. They will also strengthen lines in the Poverty Gulch and Three Mile Road areas following yesterday’s increased activity. Firefighters will construct direct line where possible to reduce the chance of fire making a hard run against the fire line escaping existing perimeters. 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.
Facts at a Glance
Size: 40,181 total acres* Date Started: 08/10/2015
Percent Containment: 40% 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; Lewis County Sheriff’s Office; Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office; Idaho County Sheriff’s Office; and nine Rural Fire Departments.
*Command of the Fisher Fire transferred to Mike Wilkins’ Southern Area Blue Team at 8:00am on August 19. The Fisher Fire 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. The Woodrat Fire is also no longer included in Clearwater Complex acreage.
Update (9:45 a.m. Friday): Air quality advisories remain in effect. From the Nez Perce Tribe:
Due to wildfire smoke from local and regional wildfires, the Air Quality Advisory issued for the Nez Perce Reservation remains in effect through Monday, Aug. 24 at 10 a.m.
Additional information about wildfires and health precautions during a wildfire smoke event is included in the notification.
For those responsible for children, please see the chart from the Idaho Department of Health & Welfare Activity Guidelines for Wildfire Smoke Events.
Update (10 a.m. Friday): The Tepee Springs fire, halfway between Riggins and New Meadows, now exceeds 8,300 acres. From the IMT there:
Current Size: 8,310 Acres
Location: Located in the area of Tepee Springs and Hazard Creek , 20 miles south of Riggins on the east side of Highway 95, 22 miles North west of McCall and north of Goose Lake.
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; 14 crews, five helicopters, 24 engines, three dozers.
Remarks: The fire continues to advance further down Hazard Creek towards Hard Creek. There is a potential today for strong winds. Firefighters are being assisted by helicopters and air tankers as conditions allow. Fire Managers are asking 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. 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 the DeMasters Team Facebook page or the Payette National Forest Facebook page. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update (10 a.m. Friday): More than 200 people, mostly loggers from north central Idaho, stepped up and showed their willingness to support firefighting efforts by participating in basic fire line training on Tuesday in Orofino. From Idaho Department of Lands:
More than 200 people, mostly loggers from north central Idaho, stepped up and showed their willingness to support firefighting efforts by participating in basic fire line training on Tuesday in Orofino.
The logging contractors refreshed their knowledge of fire behavior and how to utilize a fire shelter. The course is an annual fire refresher that is required for any equipment contractor – such as a dozer operator – who wants to assist State and federal firefighting agencies on a fire incident.
Logging contractors and their crews in the Priest River, Bonners Ferry and Moscow areas also are attending training in their communities in a similar effort to assist in this critical work.
Now that the loggers completed the training, they will be added to a list of local equipment operators that interagency dispatch centers can contact to assist with fire suppression operations in the area, after the first round of contractors in the system is depleted because of high fire activity.
Completing the course is the first step in getting the loggers under contract to help fight wildfires. Before being deployed on a fire, they also must complete additional steps outlined by State or federal agencies, such as providing documentation about the equipment and proof of insurance, and the equipment must pass inspections and qualification standards.
The training was offered free of charge by the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) and facilitated by Northwest Management. The Associated Logging Contractors reached out to logging contractors and others in the area to encourage participation, resulting in a record number of students attending the course. The interagency management teams assisting IDL with fire suppression in the area also helped make loggers in the area aware of the training.
“There is a lot of fire season left, and it is encouraging to firefighters to know there are so many more trained individuals prepared to assist them if the need arises,” local IDL area manager Zoanne Anderson said. “The high attendance at the training shows the willing spirit and can-do attitude of our loggers in the area.”
Update (10:15 a.m. Friday): From Clearwater County:
The evacuation level changes today are the following:
THREE MILE ROAD IS CLOSED AT THE INTERSECTION WITH HIGHWAY 11 TO THE INTERSECTION OF THREE MILE ROAD WITH LOLO CREEK ROAD.
LOLO CREEK ROAD AND HIDDEN VALLEY LANE ARE LEVEL 3 AND REMAIN CLOSED. LEVEL 3 EVACUATIONS HAS BEEN LIFTED ON LOMBARD ROAD. LOMBARD ROAD IS NOW A LEVEL 2. HWY 11 AT MILEPOST 13-14 IS NOW AT A LEVEL 2. HIGHWAY 11 IS OPEN.
The Municipal Fires held under the increased winds yesterday. The evacuation level remains at Level 2. The roadblocks will be lifted at 10 a.m. today
in the Upper Fords Creek area. The biggest concern of the fire teams is the change in weather. The prediction is for a cold front and increased winds.
THE OLD JUNIOR HIGH IS OPEN IN OROFINO AS A RELIEF CENTER. THE SALVATION ARMY IS OPERATING THE RELIEF CENTER. THE TIMBERLINE HIGH SCHOOL IS OPEN FOR AN EVACUATION RELIEF CENTER. IF YOU EVACUATE PLEASE CALL 208-476-4064; TO LET US KNOW WHERE YOU ARE.
The County Emergency Command Center Information Phone is manned, it is only one line. Call 208-476-4064.
Update (10:30 a.m. Friday): From Municipal Complex incident management:
All three fires on the complex are still burning and producing smoke. While none of these fires are considered contained, yesterday saw a successful day on all three fires making progress in line construction and mop-up. Throughout the day today, we expect to see some active interior burning, which could make the fires appear more active than they actually are. The cold front passing through the area will bring additional winds but with lower maximum temperatures. This will result in increased fire activity throughout the complex. The total size of the Municipal Complex is estimated to be 23,476 acres. It is approximately 50% contained at this time.
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. Small pockets of unburned fuels will continue to burn today as the fire moves through the interior. Crews will continue to mop-up and strengthen the lines throughout the day in anticipation of the cold front passage. 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. There are containment lines around the fire and mop-up efforts continue. A few hotspots popped up yesterday afternoon, but all were inside the containment lines and were quickly suppressed by firefighters. Firefighters will continue to mop-up and patrol this fire throughout the day.
Fisher Fire: The Fisher Fire is estimated to have covered about 21,640 acres. Firefighters have constructed fireline along most of the perimeter of this fire. Where the fire burned into the upper end of Big Canyon has continued to be problematic. The fire became active in that area yesterday evening but was quickly attacked by firefighters and helicopters, it did not escape the containment lines. Much of the fire perimeter is in mop-up and patrol status, and the Fisher Fire is currently estimated at 60% containment.
Weather: A cold front is expected to move through the area today and tonight bringing gusty winds that may reach 35 mph and lower temperatures. This will result in an increase in fire activity.
For more information, contact Bill Beebe, Public Information Officer, Municipal Complex at 404-354-5942 or at Municipalfire.email@example.com
For more detailed information visit www.clearwatercounty.org.
Update (10:45 a.m. Friday): Rep. Raul Labrador went to both the Soda and Clearwater Complex fires this week, Soda on Tuesday, Clearwater on Thursday. He was briefed by fire officials and met with locals. In North Idaho, there were several people on hand who lost everything. His reaction: “I couldn’t be more proud of Idahoans who rallied together to protect their communities and help their neighbors. I’m also grateful to local officials, from county commissioners to sheriff’s deputies and firefighters, who put themselves in harm’s way. That spirit gives me confidence that we’ll recover and rebuild.”
Update (11:45 a.m. Friday): From Red River Ranger District:
Two new fires were spotted on the Red River Ranger District Thursday. The 10-acre Lone Park Fire is roughly two miles east of the Cook Ranch. It is being staffed by eight smoke jumpers, supported by helicopter water drops. Firefighters are undertaking structure protection measures at Mallard Creek and Cook Ranches. The Slaughter Fire, 3.5 miles west of Concord in the Gospel Hump Wilderness, is two acres and unstaffed.
A Red Flag Warning in effect for our area until 8:00 p.m. this evening, with strong, gusty west winds predicted. Firefighters are on heightened alert as a result.
The Baldy Fire in the Newsome Creek drainage put up a substantial column Thursday afternoon. The fire is burning mostly along the ridge from south of the Pilot Knob Lookout north past Pilot Rock to Pilot Creek. It is estimated at 1,200 acres. Structure protection around the Pilot Knob Lookout is in place. Dozers are working on the ground, with firefighters assessing and providing structure protection needs.
Firefighters have been successful in getting the Deadwood Fire near Summit Flats 90 percent contained. Mop-up (making the perimeter cold) continues. Fifteen firefighters are currently staffing it.
The Red Team, a type one (national) incident management team, is being briefed in Grangeville this afternoon. The team will take over management of the Baldy Fire on the Red River District and the Wash Fire on the Moose Creek District north of Elk City. The incident command post (ICP) is being established at the old Bennett mill site three miles southwest of Elk City.
The Little Green Fire in the vicinity of the Green Mountain Lookout that had been pretty quiet over the past week or so kicked up Thursday, growing to some 200 acres. A plan is in place to provide structure protection to the lookout.
Active fire behavior was observed on the fires in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Both the Crown Fire near Crown Point and the Rattlesnake Fire burning north and south of the Crofoot Ranch gained acreage, now estimated at 1,000 acres each. We expect to have additional trail closures soon.
The Campbells Fire on the south side of the Salmon River on the Payette National Forest burned actively Thursday and is 1,958 acres. Check http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4521/, where regular updates are posted.
Elk City has not been given any evacuation notices by the Idaho County Sheriff’s office. If such notice is made at any time in the future, it will be posted on the Idaho County Sheriff’s Facebook page.
Update (noon Friday): The Idaho County Sheriff's Office is asking for calm and order in the midst of a new Level 3 (mandatory) evacuationissued for the Syringa community including the Smith Creek Road and one residence south of the Middle Fork Clearwater River. From Idaho County Sheriff's Office:
WOODRAT FIRE - SYRINGA AREA LEVEL 3 EVACUATION ORDER!
The Idaho County Sheriff Office is requesting residents in and around the community of Syringa, The Smith Creek Road, including approximately 1 ½ miles upriver from Syringa, as well as one residence, south of the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River to evacuate now.
Fire is expected to make significant runs this afternoon, given forecasted winds.
You should take your family, pets, and necessary items including medications and important papers and evacuate now.
Red Cross has set up a shelter at Kooskia Elementary School located at 306 Pine Avenue Kooskia. Please check in with them and let them know where you will be in case your family is looking for you.
Your livestock should have already been moved.
Drive with your lights on, safely and SLOWLY remaining aware of your surroundings as you leave.
Fire operations and equipment are engaged in the area, please drive safely to the evacuation center in a calm and orderly manner.
Update (noon Friday): From the Motorway Complex command:
Facts at a Glance
Size: Approximately 20,000 Acres Date
Percent Containment: 5% - Woodrat, Other fires in the Complex are at 0% containment
Personnel: Approximately 205 personnel that includes three Type 1 and Type 2 Initial Attack hand crews, various support personnel. Additional resources arrived last night and will be incoming throughout the day.
Equipment: 3 heavy equipment modules, 18 engines, 5 water tenders, 3 Dozers
Aircraft Assigned: Shared resources.
Cooperating Agencies: US Forest Service; Clearwater and Idaho counties; Clearwater Potlatch Timber Protective Association; Nez Perce Tribe; Idaho State Police, Idaho Transportation Department.
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 a.m. today. The Motorway Complex, Incident Command Post (ICP), is 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 in steep, rugged ground 1 mile north and west of the community of Syringa. ... 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. Yesterday, firefighters capitalized and continued to secure containment line. Crews will continue structure assessments along Smith Creek road and the Syringa area. Dozer line on the southwest end of the fire has been constructed and tied into local roads in the area; however, much of that line is indirect and will need further improvements to be secure containment line. Crews made great progress on the southeast corner of the fire connecting roads and dozer line towards Smith Creek road as well as structure protection and contingency lines around Syringa.
Today, crews are working strenuously to construct and reinforce existing line along the south and east flanks of the fire. Constructed lines will be a combination of hand line and dozer line. A structure protection specialist and structure protection engines will be incorporated into efforts in Syringa and the surrounding area. As new resources become available they will be mobilized where needed.
Syringa area residents should remain vigilant to changing conditions, as a Red Flag Warning Friday could result in extreme fire behavior and potential safety issues for both firefighters and the public.
Slide – The Slide fire is burning in open pine and Douglas fir stands on steep south facing slopes above the Selway River. Fire spread has not been significant in the last 48 hours and is primarily moving up-river. The fire is a potential threat to homes, private holdings, and the Historic Fenn Ranger Station to the east.
Yesterday, crews continued 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.
Today, crews will continue to lay hose and prepare structures for protection along the Selway River. Crews are also building line on the west, to try to stop down-river progression. The fire has stalled in its progression to the north in brush fields along the upper ridges. Predicted strong winds throughout the day could push the fire up slope in a northerly direction.
Wash – The Wash fire is actively burning 8 miles east of Lowell, Idaho and approximately 5 miles east of the homes located south of the Selway River, just south and east of the Slide fire. The fire is threatening grazing allotments and could be a potential threat to other areas to the south and west. Fire activity is being assessed to notify permittees and identify structures for protection. The Selway River Road #223 is closed from O'Hara Bridge, at the junction of O'Hara Road #651, to the junction of Falls Point Road #443. Ten trails that access the closed segment of Road 223 are also closed: Trails #702; 703; 704; 705; 707; 708; 709; 710; 725 and 734. The above restrictions are necessary for public safety due to wildfire activity.
The fire is currently estimated at 5,000 acres, burning in heavy fir and cedar along the north facing slopes of the Selway River, and dense contiguous fuels have limited fire manager’s opportunities to check southerly spread.
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 Wash fire, 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 and include Lost Hat, 535, and Musselshell Creek fires. 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. On the Musselshell Creek fire, an anchor point has been established along the 535 road, and crews are trying to tie fire perimeter into that anchor point. Structures currently threatened by the Motorway fires are Forest Service facilities and infrastructure. Structure protection assessments and actions are currently underway in those areas.
The National Weather Service in Missoula has issued a Red Flag Warning, from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Friday for gusty winds and low relative humidity. 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: WOODRAT FIRE LEVEL 3 EVACUATION ORDER!
The Idaho County Sheriff Office is requesting residents in and around the communities of Syringa, The Smith Creek Road, including approximately 1½ miles upriver from Syringa, as well as one residence, south of the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River to evacuate now.
- Fire is expected to make significant runs this afternoon, given forecasted winds.
- You should take your family, pets, and necessary items including medications and important papers and evacuate now.
- Red Cross has set up a shelter at Kooskia Elementary School located at 306 Pine Avenue Kooskia. Please check in with them and let them know where you will be in case your family is looking for you.
- Your livestock should have already been moved.
- Drive with your lights on, safely and SLOWLY remaining aware of your surroundings as you leave.
- Fire operations and equipment are engaged in the area, please drive safely to the evacuation center in a calm and orderly manner.
August 21, 2015 10:45 a.m.
Sherriff Giddings, Idaho County
Incident Commander, Rick Kusicko
Road Closures & Special Announcements: Significant Forest area closures are in affect and additional closures in the Selway River may be forthcoming due to wildfire activity. Closures can be located at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices. Please check back regularly as conditions and closures change frequently.
For more info: Please contact the fire information line, at 208-926-4170 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions concerning the complex. As always, check fire information and updates on http://inciweb.nwcg.gov. Once on the specific fire in the incident, you can choose to follow the fire updates via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets.
The above entry has been updated to reflect the joint statement on evacuations in the Syringa area, timestamped at 10:45 a.m.
Update (12:15 p.m. Friday): Governor Otter toured the Lawyer/Clearwater Complex by air last Saturday, Aug. 15, with General Brad Richy of the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security. The Governor and General Richy flew the perimeter of the fire. They landed and got a detailed brief from the Incident Commander at the Fire Base Camp and others detailing conditions, weather, outlook, assets, expected containment and all specific and salient factors associated with the effort to control that fire. From the Governor's office:
His reaction to seeing the fire and being briefed on the situation there is that we are dealing with some extreme conditions which are conspiring to make this one of the worst fire seasons in recent memory. The saddest part is that we have already lost one life that is attributed to this fire and he is very concerned that we not lose any more. We have seen just recently in Washington State how dangerous these fires can be with the deaths of three firefighters who were also trying to flee the flames.
So we have lost lives, we have lost homes and face the possibility of losing more until control or containment. So he is very concerned about the loss of life, and the ongoing threat to people’s lives, property and livelihood. He wants to ensure that local officials have whatever they need to protect lives and property, whether that means resources or funding or both. That is why he recently signed disaster declarations for Lewis and Idaho Counties and is prepared to act on more, as requests arise from local officials.
The First Lady and Governor wish to extend their deepest sympathies to all of these victims' surviving family members and encourage all Idahoans to keep them in their thoughts and prayers.
Update (12:15 p.m. Friday): From Idaho Department of Lands: The total number of acres that have burned in Idaho so far this year is 420,000 and climbing.
Update (12:15 p.m. Friday): From Idaho County Sheriff's Office: Additional Woodrat Fire evacuation notifications: Level 2 in the area 1.5 miles east of Syringa to the west edge of Lowell; Level 1 from the west edge of Lowell to Pete King Rd.
Update (4:45 p.m. Friday): From Idaho County Sheriff's Office:
The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office has issued the following evacuation alert and notice to residents in the Elk City area (including Newsome) due to potential high winds and the potential for fire growth on both the Baldy Fire and the Wash Fire.
Update (5 p.m. Friday): Level 3 evacuations remain in effect in and around Syringa, the Smith Creek Road and one residence south of the Middle Fork Clearwater River. Additional Level 2 warnings are in effect in the Suttler Creek Road area as well as the area from Syringa to Lowell. From Woodrat Fire command:
The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office has issued the following evacuation alerts and notices to residents upriver from Syringa, due to potential high winds and the potential for fire growth on the Woodrat Fire.
Level II- A Level II (2) evacuation warning has been issued from the area up-river from the existing Level III Syringa boundary east (up-river) to the western boundary of Lowell.
Level I – A Level I (1) evacuation alert has been issued for Lowell, as well as the area to the northeast, up-river and adjacent to the Lochsa River to Pete King Road.
The following existing evacuation notices and orders remain in effect:
The Level III evacuation order for residents in and around the community of Syringa, the Smith Creek Road, including approximately 1 ½ miles upriver from Syringa, as well as one residence, south of the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River should be evacuating now. This evacuation remains in effect.
Suttler Creek Road remains in Level II evacuation status.
The evacuation status for these areas continues to be evaluated due to potential for high winds and fire growth on the Woodrat Fire. Citizens should remain vigilant to new notices, as the situation can change rapidly.
As a reminder to all citizens, the following are general descriptions of the three evacuation levels and necessary actions by residents:
LEVEL I (1)
EVACUATION or PROTECTION ALERT: A wildfire threat is in your area. It would be wise to consider planning and/or packing, in the event an evacuation becomes necessary.
LEVEL II (2)
EVACUATION WARNING or NOTICE: High probability of a need to evacuate.
You should prepare now by packing necessary items and preparing your family, pets, and vehicle for potential departure.
Remember the 6- P’s:
- A plan for the persons in your family (including a meeting place.)
- Personal items (including toiletries, food and water for 2-3 days and special personal possessions.)
- Prescriptions- Have your full, current supply of prescriptions packed.
- Photographs (and other momentos) which cannot be replaced.
- Pets (Have a plan in place and pets secured so frightened pets don’t escape fenced yards or kennels.)
- Papers- Pack all important papers, including reference phone numbers, account numbers, etc.
- Now is the time to move persons with mobility or medical issues.
- If you have livestock or large animals, please move them to a safe place now!
- Please use common sense and evacuate at any time you feel uncomfortable or see active fire behavior.
LEVEL III (3)
EVACUATION REQUEST or ORDER: Occupants of the affected area(s) are asked to leave within a specified time period, by pre-designated route(s).
- Perimeter roadblocks are typically established. At this stage:
- You should take your family, pets, and necessary items including medications and important papers and evacuate now if you are in a Level III area.
- Check in with your local Red Cross shelter (even if you don’t intend to stay there.) For the Woodrat Fire, the Red Cross shelter is set up at Kooskia Elementary School located at 306 Pine Avenue, Kooskia. Please check in with them and let them know where you will be in case your family is looking for you.
- Drive with your lights on, safely and SLOWLY remaining aware of your surroundings as you leave.
August 21, 2015
Sheriff Giddings, Idaho County
Incident Commander, Rick Kusicko
Update (6 p.m. Friday): The Baldy Fire in the Pilot Knob vicinity has grown to 1,200 acres. From the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests:
As a majority of area firefighters concentrated their efforts improving firelines and fighting fires within the wildland urban interface, fire managers on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests continued to manage existing and new fires with the limited resources made available for fire management in more remote backcountry areas.
Fire activity for the southern zone of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest is mostly concentrated within the Red River Ranger District. Two new fires were detected and staffed including the 10-acre Lone Park Fire located roughly two miles east of the Cook Ranch. It is staffed by eight smokejumpers supported by helicopter water drops. Firefighters are working to protect structures at the Mallard Creek and Cook Ranches. A second fire, the Slaughter Fire 3.5 miles west of Concord in the Gospel Hump Wilderness is two acres and being monitored.
The Baldy Fire in the Newsome Creek drainage continues to burn mostly along the ridge from south of the Pilot Knob Lookout north past Pilot Rock to Pilot Creek. It is estimated to be 1,200 acres. Firefighters have taken actions to protect the lookout tower and equipment at Pilot Knob.
A National (Type I) Incident Management Team was briefed in Grangeville this afternoon and is taking over management of the Baldy Fire on the Red River Ranger District, and the Wash Fire which is located on the Moose Creek District north of Elk City.
The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Stage I evacuation alert and notice to residents in the Elk City area (including Newsome) due to potential high winds and the potential for fire growth on both the Baldy and Wash Fires.
Also in the Red River District, the Little Green Fire in the vicinity of the Green Mountain Lookout grew to an estimated 200 acres. Fires in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness are active, with both the Crown Fire near Crown Point and the Rattlesnake Fire burning north and south of the Crofoot Ranch growing to an estimated 1000 each. Trail closures anticipated.
Fires were also active in the central zone where 11 fires continue to spread in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and eight fires remain active in the front country.
The greater Powell area remains under a stage I evacuation alert as the Jay Point Fire three miles west of Powell continues to spread. Estimated to be more than 100 acres, the fire burned the Jay Point Lookout Thursday. The White House, Wendover, Powell and White Sands Campgrounds have been closed.
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.
(This article has been updated. Further updates can be found here.)