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FRIDAY: Dixie-area Noble Fire forces evacuations in Cook Ranch, Mallard Creek

Air attack on the Tepee Springs Fire, Aug. 21.

Inciweb / Shawn Walters
Air attack on the Tepee Springs Fire, Aug. 21.

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests the following in the Aug. 28 morning report:

Numerous fires continue to burn across the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, many of which are being grouped together and managed as complexes. Fires have spread across an estimated 80,000 acres to date. Suppression action is being taken on priority fires as firefighting resources become available.

An area closure is pending related to the rapid spread of the Tepee Springs Fire. The draft closure area is south of Grangeville. Its southern border is the Salmon River from the forest boundary east to French Creek. It extends north for approximately ten miles. The southern segment of the Grangeville-Salmon River Road 221 is closed.

This morning, the Noble Fire was reported at 250 acres south of Elk City. This afternoon, the Idaho County Sheriff's Office issued the following evacuation notice:

Cook Ranch & Mallard Creek now at LEVEL 3 evacuation due to the Noble Fire. Please gather your family, pets and prescriptions and leave the area.

Update (4 p.m. Friday): This morning's report, the most recent available at this hour, put the sizes of the Baldy Fire at 2,200 acres and the Wash Fire at 28,500 acres. A public meeting has been scheduled in Orogrande. From the Selway Complex incident management team:

A public meeting is scheduled Saturday, August 29, beginning at 12 noon at the McGuire Cabin in Orogrande. Members of the Southern Area Incident Management Team will offer information on the fires within the Selway Complex.

Update (4 p.m. Friday): Here are some details released this morning by the Motorway Complex IMT:

Currently, almost 2,400 firefighters are fighting fire in central Idaho; their safety and that of the public is always the first priority. Assignment of resources – firefighters, helicopters, engines, etc. - is coordinated to assure that critical needs are met and the well-being of firefighters is addressed. When an Incident Management Team (IMT) reaches the end of its fire assignment a determination is made about the level of management still needed for that particular fire. A “transfer of command” will occur to either another IMT or management responsibilities may be returned to the local agency administrator. Fire managers strive for a seamless transfer as an IMT leaves and another takes on management responsibilities.

Beginning Thursday, August 27, several transitions will occur over the next few days; the Northern Rockies Type 2 IMT has completed their fire assignment and is transferring management of the Motorway Complex fires to two Teams, the Northern Rockies Type 1 IMT and the Southern Area Type 1 Team, also known as the Blue Team. The Selway Complex, the Baldy and Wash Fires, will continue to be managed by the Southern Area, “Red” Type 1 Team.

Although changes in the management of the fires are occurring and will continue, the incident management teams are committed to managing these fires in a manner that provides a safe fire assignment for all personnel while protecting life and property across the landscape and provides the public accurate and timely information.

Weather: Temperatures today will be in the mid-80s to 90s with relative humidity in the high teens to mid-twenties. Winds are predicted to be out of the west, southwest at 10-15 mph. There is a slight chance of thunderstorms today with dry lightning and associated high outflow winds. Fire weather concerns are increasing with hotter, dryer weather and a cold front bringing increasing winds on Saturday.

Wood Rat: The fireline is holding along the Smith Creek Road above Syringa. The primary focus today for firefighters will continue to be structure protection in the area. Firefighters are patrolling the fire at night to check on established fire lines and check on areas of concern. With increased visibility yesterday, helicopters were busy working on two spot fires, one that was west of the Swan Creek drainage near Bechtold’s property and another that spotted over the 5502A road. As the inversion lifts today, use of helicopters will increase again to support firefighting efforts, including the addition of a large, twin rotor Chinook helicopter. The west side the fire is backing downslope towards roads that will be used as containment lines. The northeast area of the fire is being scouted today to develop a plan for containment. Preparations are also being made along the 5505 road for a burnout operation in order to bring the fire to a location where is will be easier to hold a containment line. Snags and other trees identified as hazards are being removed along all roadways as they pose a serious safety hazard to firefighters.

Slide Fire: The Midnight Sun Hot Shots from Alaska conducted firing operations yesterday in the Cedar Flats area. Crews are also doing prep work along Johnson Ridge for possible future firing operations. Scouting and reconnaissance was done along the Cool Water Ridge Road. Crews will stage out of a spike camp located at the Johnson Bar Campground. Structure protection groups is in place and have installed over 30 water pumps and associated hose lays among structures that are threatened. Low intensity firing operations will continue to be conducted today in order to bring the fire slowly downslope to the valley floor. Yesterday, these firing operations were successful at consuming surface fuels to eliminate their availability to the main fire front. Contingency lines will be constructed off of Road 223.

Jay Point Fire: Yesterday the Lolo Hot Shots built hand lines from Social Corner toward the Lochsa River. Crews conducted a firing operation in the northeast area of the fire near Tom Beale Road and began prep work along the 362 Road in order to contain the fire’s growth towards the east. Firefighters will work on reinforcing fire line with pumps and hoses from Social Corner to the river while heavy equipment will improve the Tom Beale Road as well as roads to the east of the fire to be used as contingency lines. Engine crews will continue to provide protection for structures near the Powell Ranger Station and the Lochsa Lodge. Work will include installing pumps, hose lays and supporting firing operations if needed.

Update (4 p.m. Friday): Earlier this afternoon, the Clearwater-Municipal-Motorway N. Complex noted a looming shift in the weather across the area:

A cold front is expected to pass through this area tomorrow, August 29, 2015 resulting in increased winds that will likely change directions from tomorrow morning through the evening. These weather conditions are likely to cause increased fire activity on all fires within our complex.

If you wish to report a fire, please call 911 or the Grangeville Dispatch at (208) 983-6800 if it is within the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. If you feel that the control lines are being compromised on existing fires you may call the Incident Command Post at (208) 476-5863.


Tepee Springs Fire perimeter, Aug. 28.

Update (4:15 p.m. Friday): As of this morning, the Tepee Springs Fire had grown to 40,665 acres. From the Tepee Springs Fire IMT:

The French Creek road (FS road 246) is currently closed due to fire activity. For those floaters that are coming out and the people that are shuttling them there is currently a pilot car that is leading vehicles to egress and ingress into Vinegar Creek as fire activity allows.

Food, water and support are being set up at Vinegar Creek if floaters are held due to fire activity that prevents them from safely being piloted from the area.

All shuttles should be prepared to wait in Riggins.

Update (5 p.m. Friday): The following initial information has been posted to the Red River Complex inciweb page:

Portions of the Red River Complex are burning on the Salmon River and Red River Ranger Districts south of Elk City, Idaho. Active fires within the complex include the Slaughter Fire (100 acres), Lone Park (1,200 acres), Crown Fire (2,500 acres), Rattlesnake Fire (1,350 acres), Noble Fire (250 acres); and Little Green Fire (1,200 acres).

The Noble Fire is currently threatening the Cook and Mallard Ranches which have been placed on Stage 3 Evacuation notices. Public and firefighter safety and point protection continue being the priority for this fire and structure protection is ongoing at Cook Ranch, Mallard Creek Ranch, Green Mountain lookout, and Bargamin Creek Bridge.


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