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SATURDAY: stranded rafters escorted down from French Creek

Inciweb / Don Jaques



(This article has been updated. See the updates below.)

The Tepee Springs Fire has grown to nearly 49,000 acres and has burned northward from its origin southeast of Pollock all the way to French Creek east of Riggins, primarily on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land. Yesterday, fire managers and the Idaho County Sheriff's Office escorted 70 rafters by pilot car from French Creek down the Salmon River Road to Riggins. "Boulders and other debris falling onto the road have hampered additional efforts to transport recreationists and the roadway is currently blocked," the BLM reported Saturday morning. "Transportation efforts to move rafters to Riggins will resume once the roadway is cleared and deemed safe for travel. The Tepee Fire continues to threaten Forest road 246 at French Creek, a road that was initially utilized to escort rafters down to McCall."

From the Bureau of Land Management:

On August 26, based on recommendations from the Idaho County Sheriff and the Incident Management Team managing the Tepee Springs Fire, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Cottonwood Field Office issued a temporary emergency closure for a 17.78 mile portion of the Lower Salmon River to all recreation activities in the river corridor. In addition to the river closure, the Salmon River Road was closed by the sheriff’s department and local residents living along the roadway were evacuated.

Fire conditions on Friday allowed fire managers and the sheriff’s department to escort 70 rafters by pilot car from French Creek down the Salmon River Road to Riggins. Boulders and other debris falling onto the road have hampered additional efforts to transport recreationists and the roadway is currently blocked. Transportation efforts to move rafters to Riggins will resume once the roadway is cleared and deemed safe for travel.

The Tepee Fire continues to threaten Forest road 246 at French Creek; a road that was initially utilized to escort rafters down to McCall. The fire is currently 48,568 acres and spreading in a northerly direction.

Until fire conditions moderate, the Idaho County Sheriff’s Department is holding remaining rafters at Vinegar Creek and Carrey Creek. No rafters are being allowed to launch upriver at this time and efforts are underway to hold rafters that are already on the river, asking them to stay where they are until the fire threat diminishes.

Update (11:30 a.m. Saturday): The Woodrat Fire grew "significantly" on the southwest side last night, and the Slide Fire "continues to grow to the north and west." The Jay Point and Boulder fires reached the Lochsa River near the Powell Campground yesterday. Here's the morning update from the Motorway Complex team:

Weather: All fires in the area will fall under a Red Flag Warning today. Gusty ridge-top winds are predicted to approach 30 mph, mainly from the west, ahead of a cold front moving into the area in the late afternoon. Erratic and gusty valley winds are expected to be 15mph. Dry thunderstorms are possible. Winds will increase fire activity and fire spotting potential.

Wood Rat Fire: Last night, the fire grew significantly on the southwest side. Strong down-canyon winds pushed the fire down to the river, near mile-post markers 85 and 86 on Highway 12. Night-shift crews and engines coordinated with local fire resources to provide structure protection. No structures were damanged. Today crews and overhead will develop a plan for containing last night’s fire growth. Pumps and hoses, structure protection and hazard-tree modules are assigned to Syringa. Line construction will continue on the fire’s eastern edge along Smith Creek Road and the 5504 road.

Slide Fire: The fire continues to grow to the north and west. Today a structure protection division will work along the Selway River corridor and in the Fenn Ranger Station area. Rolling debris from the fire is causing problems for structure protection crews. Contingency lines will be strengthened along Telephone Ridge on the fire’s western edge.

Jay Point and Boulder Fires: The Jay Point fire reached the Lochsa River near the Powell campground yesterday. Structure protection modules will work in the Powell Ranger Station area today. Heavy equipment task force crews will work on existing roads along the fire’s eastern perimeter to remove fuels and reduce potential for fire spread. Firefighters will scout the Boulder fire and develop a plan of action. With the existing fuel, topography and weather conditions, the fire is expected to grow across the state line into Montana today.

Smoke Concerns: Air quality continues to be unhealthy. For more information on air quality conditions, visit http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/ and http://app.airsis.com/USFS/fleet.aspx. For information about mitigating smoke-related health hazards, visit http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/p/smoke-and-health.html

Closures: There are significant closures of forest lands and roads because of wildfire activity, including the Selway River Road. Closures are listed at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices. They may change, so check back regularly.

Update (11:45 a.m. Saturday): Last night, the Idaho County Sheriff's Office issued Level II evacuation notices for the Elk City and Newsome areas:

ELK CITY/RED RIVER/NEWSOME - Level II evacuation for these areas. Level II means there is a high probability that a need to evacuate your area may become necessary. Please use common sense and evacuate at anytime you feel uncomfortable or see active fire behavior.

Update (11:45 a.m. Saturday): The Baldy Fire was reported at 2,200 acres this morning, but the Wash Fire has grown to nearly 34,000 acres. From the Selway Complex team:

Background/Current Status: The Baldy and Wash fires in the Selway Complex were caused by lightning strikes on August 10th and 13th in the Red River Ranger District of the Nez Perce - Clearwater National Forest near Elk City, Idaho. With dry conditions, gusty winds, steep terrain and a shortage of firefighting resources due to multiple fire starts and existing fires, the fires quickly grew. Fires are expected to be active until a significant, season-ending weather event occurs, which may not occur until mid/late October.

Yesterday’s Events: Baldy Fire: Firefighters continued to reinforce fireline along roads 284, 464, 1858 and existing trails around the Baldy Fire. Now that structure protection is in place in the Newsome community, structure assessment has begun near Elk City to prepare for any future threats to the community. Wash Fire: Firefighters continued opening old fire contingency lines from the previous Slim’s Fire on Green Ridge and installing hose lays in these areas and along the Anderson Butte Trail. Because of increased fire activity south of Elk City and the forecast weather and fire behavior, there is a greater potential for threats to structures in the Mallard Creek and Cook Ranches.

Planned Events: Baldy Fire: Firefighters will continue assessment of structures in the Elk City area. Wash Fire: Firefighters will finish opening old fire contingency lines from the previous Slim’s Fire on Green Ridge and installing hose lays in these areas and along the Anderson Butte Trail. A public meeting is scheduled today beginning at noon at the McGuire Cabin in Orogrande, Idaho. Point protection efforts will focus on assessing and preparing structures in the areas of Mallard Creek Ranch, Cook Ranch, Red River Community, and along Dixie Road.

Restrictions and Closures: The temporary flight restriction in place over the fire area may be viewed at: http://tfr.faa.gov/save_pages/detail_5_8898.html. Several areas are closed due to fires in the area. For more information, visit the Nez-Perce-Clearwater National Forest web site: (www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices).

Evacuations: A Level 2 Evacuation Alert has been issued for the Elk City area, including Newsome, due to potential high winds and fire growth on both the Baldy and Wash Fires and increased fire activity south of Elk City. A Level 2 Evacuation means be ready. This level indicates there is significant danger to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready at a moment’s notice. Level 3 evacuation notice for Mallard Creek and Cook Ranches.

Fire Weather: A cold front moving through the area may bring winds of up to 35 mph from the southwest in the morning, changing to the northwest in the afternoon. Temperatures will continue to be 72-75 degrees with relative humidity 35-40%.

Smoke Concerns: Air quality continues to be unhealthy. For more information on current air quality conditions, visit http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/. For information about mitigating smoke related health hazards, visit http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/p/smoke-and-health.html.

Update (11:45 a.m. Saturday): At about 4:30 a.m. this morning, the National Weather Service in Missoula has issued a red flag warning this morning until 7 p.m. for gusty winds and low relative humidities. More from the Clearwater-Municipal-Motorway North Complex team:

The National Weather Service in Missoula has issued a red flag warning this morning until 7 p.m. for gusty winds and low relative humidities. This cold front has the potential to lift the inversion and increase fire activity. The sporadic winds could cause flareups and torching in interior areas of the fires and increase the potential for spotting. Citizens and fire crews should be careful of snags in forested areas and along roads.

To report a fire, please call 911 and they will direct the call to the proper agency.

Firefighters will continue to monitor fire conditions on all fires. The wind event will test firelines and crews will use the opportunity to identify hot spots and flush them out. The forecast also calls for cooler temperatures and partly cloudy skies on Sunday, which will help fire suppression efforts overall.

Fire activity on the Motorway North Fires was minimal yesterday. The Mussellshell and 535 fires, northwest of Pioneer Mine, merged and continued to slowly advance to the west. The Lost Hat Fire was fairly active, and fire crews worked to prevent the fire from crossing Orofino Creek. On the Yoosa Fire, crews also focused on protecting structures such as guard shacks and towers.

Mop-up operations and line improvement continued on the Clearwater Fire. Crews have been working hard to extinguish all smoldering stumps and hot spots within 100 feet of the fireline. Small pockets of unburned fuels were found in the center of the burned area. In addition to the federal crews, two local engine crews have been working swing shifts to monitor areas near structures and respond to reports of smoke.

On the Fisher, Municipal, and Old Greer Fires, firefighters continued to patrol and check on the fire.

Information on the upcoming hunting seasons and areas with limited access may be found on the Idaho Fish and Game site: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/fire

The wildfires have affected many roads on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. The closures are listed at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices.

Smoke Concerns: Air quality continues to be a concern. For more information on current air quality conditions, visit http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/air-quality. For information about mitigating smoke related health hazards, visit http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/p/smoke-and-health.html.

Update (noon Saturday): There is will be a informational meeting regarding the Tepee Springs Fire will be held at Salmon River High School at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 30. From the Tepee Springs Fire team:

Current Size: 48,568 Acres

Location: The fire is now 12 miles east of Riggins on the east side of Highway 95, the fire is spreading in a northerly direction and has reached the Salmon River. It is burning down into the Lake Creek drainage on the west and extends to the French Creek drainage on the east.

Cause: Lightning

Containment: 25%

Resources on Fire: Great Basin Incident Management Team 2 will take over the fire on Sunday August 30, 2015 and will manage the Fire for the Payette National Forest.

25 crews, seven helicopters, 45 engines, 5 dozers are working this fire.

Remarks: Evacuations are now in effect from Lake Creek Point North to the Salmon River, east to French Creek Road. There is an evacuation shelter at the Riggins Community Center. People needing shelter should contact the Red Cross at 800-853-2570, option 1.

There is a Notification in place, which means that residents should prepare their belongings in case of an evacuation. It includes: East side of Hwy 95 north of Circle C road to North of Riggins to the Time Zone Bridge, West side of Hwy 95 North of Smokey Boulder Road to North of Riggins to the Time Zone Bridge. Repeat this is a Notification not an Evacuation. Residents will be notified by the Sheriff if an evacuation is ordered

Closures:

The Payette National Forest in the vicinity of Tepee Springs Fire is closed to public use. Hazard Campground is closed, Grouse Campground is closed, and Last Chance 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. All BLM managed lands east of Hwy 95 between Riggins Idaho and the Smokey Boulder Road North of New Meadows and BLM managed land South of the Salmon River Road (NF-1614) east of Riggins Idaho to the Payette National Forest Boundary.

River Closure: 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. You will be allowed to enter when it is safe to travel into Vinegar Creek and you will be escorted into the area by a pilot car.

Please be patient this is ever-changing as the fire continues to spread. The safety of the public and firefighters is paramount.

Update (12:15 p.m. Saturday): The Idaho County Sheriff's Office has announced the closure of State Highway 14, except to residents, due to fire activity in the Elk City and Newsome areas:

Due to fire activity Hwy 14 is closed at MP 23. Only resident traffic will be allowed through.

Update (12:30 p.m. Saturday): Seven fires are being managed on the Payette National Forest. From the Payette National Forest:

As of Friday night there were no new fires reported and 7 fires we continue to manage. The Tepee Springs Fire, Rapid Fire, and Campbells Fire remain priorities for suppression efforts. Firefighters are preparing for a weather front that will produce high winds today with potential lightning.

Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect on the Payette National Forest. The following acts are prohibited: igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire outside a fire structure that is provided by the Forest Service within a designated area, and smoking outside an enclosed vehicle or building. Fire restrictions and maps are posted to Facebook.

The Campbells Fire is currently estimated at 6,720 acres. It is burning in Trout Creek, Moore Creek, Ruff Creek, and Fall Creek in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The fire now includes Burnt Knob and is showing the most growth in upper Trout Creek and onto Highline Ridge. Crews are providing protection for the bridge at Campbell’s Ferry as well as the Jim Moore place, and have installed pumps and hose lay around Lemhi Bar. The Chena Hotshot crew is working on assessing and prepping China Bar and Gaines Bar. Firefighters will also be setting up for structure protection at Chamberlain and Stonebraker Ranch. The Dillinger Fire is currently estimated at 3,979 acres. It is located 3 miles east of Dillinger Meadows in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The fire includes the area around Bruin Mountain and Rocky Point. This fire has seen significant growth in past couple of days. Both fires are currently being managed by a Local Type 3 Incident Management Team. A Forest Closure Order has been issued (see Facebook or inciweb for map and Closure Order). Additional information is available at (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4521/)

Tepee Springs Fire information is available at (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4506/)

The Rapid Fire information is available at (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4522/)

Fires within the wilderness are being monitored by lookouts and aircraft.

The Payette National Forest is now using GovDelivery to send out Fire Updates. If you are already on one of our mailing list you will now see emails coming from payettefireinformation@public.govdelivery.com. If you are not already on our list you can sign up to receive these update through GovDelivery.

Status update by fire is provided below for each district. Fires that are declared out from previous updates are no longer listed.

New Meadows Ranger District:

  1. Tepee Springs: (48,568 ac) The fire is now 12 miles east of Riggins on the east side of Highway 95, the fire is spreading in a northerly direction and has reached the Salmon River. It is burning down into the Lake Creek drainage on the west and extends to the French Creek Drainage on the east. Evacuations, pre-evacuation notifications, and Forest Closures are in effect. This fire is being managed by a Regional Incident Management Team (DeMasters Type 2 Team).

McCall Ranger District:

  1. Rapid: (6,422 ac) Located south of Buckhorn Mountain and east of the Rapid Creek drainage, approximately 12 miles southeast of McCall. Forest Closure Order in effect. This fire is being managed by a Regional Incident Management Team (Dunfords Type 2 Team).
  2. Loon Creek: (1 ac) Located south of Loon Mountain, fire is burning in light fuels with a low potential to spread. Fire is being monitored.
  3. Porphyry: (.10 ac) Located west of Porphyry Creek in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Minimal Smoke is showing in the top of a snag. Fire is being monitored.

Krassel Ranger District:

  1. Campbells Fire: (6,720 ac) Burning in Trout Creek, Moore Creek, Ruff Creek, and Fall Creek in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness near Campbell’s Ferry on the Salmon River. Forest Closure Order in effect. This fire is being managed by a Local Fire Management Team (Cline Type 3 Team).
  2. Dillinger: (3,979 ac) Located 3 miles east of Dillinger Meadows in the Frank Church of No Return Wilderness. This fire has seen significant growth in the past couple of days. This fire is being managed by the Campbells Fire Local Fire Management Team (Cline Type 3 Team).
  3. Crescent Fire: (This fire was previously listed as Vines Fire) (10 ac) Located 6 miles east/northeast of Cabin Creek Guard Station in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. No growth in the last week. Fire is being monitored.
  4. Mosquito: (.25 to 0.50 ac) Located on the east side of Mosquito Ridge in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. No smoke showing at this time, no growth in the last week. Fire is being monitored.

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 are asked to subscribe to GovDelivery.

Update (12:30 p.m. Saturday): From the Red River Ranger District:

A Red Flag Warning is in effect today with the advent of a cold front passing over the area. Winds will shift from out of the southwest to out of the northwest in the afternoon, with potential 35 mph gusts. If the inversions lift, the fires in the area will increase in intensity and fire behavior could become extreme.

The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office has placed a check station at Peasley Creek (MM 21) on Highway 14 to turn around unnecessary traffic into the area. Highway 14 is open for necessary travel.

There were no new fires on the Red River Ranger District Friday. However, intensity of existing fires increased dramatically, resulting in the following evacuation levels:

• Mallard Creek Ranch and Cook Ranch: Level 3

• Red River Area (Road 234 and Road 222 from Red River to Gold Point): Level 2

• Elk City and Newsome: Level 2

The Noble Fire moved into the south end of Mallard Creek Ranch. Crews are working on structure protection and are preparing to start a burn-out operation if conditions allow. Heavy equipment is in route to assist with fuel breaks.

The Lone Park Fire merged with the Crown Fire south of the Magruder Road (#468) and has slopped over the road to the north in the vicinity of 14 Mile Trailhead. Those combined fires are now estimated at 10,000 acres.

According to firefighters monitoring the Rattlesnake Fire, it has burned upriver to approximately Rattlesnake Point and deeper into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The exact size is unknown, but estimated at 2,000 acres.

The Little Green Fire, northwest of Green Mountain Lookout, remains a threat to the lookout and potentially the 285 Road. The lookout is under structure protection. Pilot cars on Road 285 may be possible by hunting season in the event the now-closed Magruder Road reopens.

Slaughter Fire, 3.5 miles west of Concord in the Gospel Hump Wilderness, is 100 to 150 acres and burning north-northeast. The fire remains unstaffed.

The 120-acre Deadwood Fire near Summit Flats is 100% contained and in patrol status.

Information for the Campbells Fire south of the Salmon River on the Payette National Forest is available at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4521/#.

CLOSURES:

(New) Red River Complex Area Closure: Junction of the Magruder Road 468 and FS Trail 501; south along FS Trail 501 to the Salmon River; westerly along the Salmon River to Little Mallard Creek; northwesterly along Little Mallard Creek to FS Road 222; north along FS Road 222 to FS Road 1190; easterly along FS Road 1190 to FS Road 222I; north along FS Road 222 to Magruder Road 468; east along

Road 468 to the junction of FS Trail 501, the point of beginning.

Note: Trail 501 - Closed; Magruder Road 468 - Closed from Red River to Poet Creek; FS Road 1190 – Closed

The Baldy Fire Closure and Selway Closures are unchanged. Copies of all closure orders are available at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices.

For any questions relating to these fires, please contact the District Office at 208-842-2245. For questions about the Selway Complex (Wash and Baldy Fires), call 877-367-9503 or email them at selwaycomplex2015@gmail.com.

Hunters: for information about closures affecting hunting units throughout the state, see Department of Fish and Game’s site at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/fire.

Smoke Concerns: Air quality continues to be unhealthy. For more information on current air quality conditions, visit http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/ and http://app.airsis.com/USFS/fleet.aspx. For information about mitigating smoke related health hazards, visit http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/p/smoke-and-health.html.

Idaho County Evacuations: The Idaho County Sheriff’s office has directed people to go to their Facebook page for evacuation information: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Idaho-County-Sheriffs-Office/178393728844032.

Update (12:30 p.m. Saturday): A Type II IMT is leaving the area; three Type I teams (which have greater capabilities, continue to oversee fire operations across North Central Idaho. From command:

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 occurred.The Northern Rockies Type 2 IMT has completed their fire assignment and transferred 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.

The following list provides contact information on the large fires burning in central Idaho.

For information on the Clearwater Complex, Municipal Complex and Motorway Complex (northern fires) including Musselshell, Lawyer 2, Lolo, Carrot Ridge, Lost Hat, 535, Hemlock Ridge, Musselshell Creek, Yoosa, Hemlock, Footrot, Snowy Summit, Pete Forks, Savage Ridge, Green, Municipal, Fisher and Old Greer please call 208-476-5110, 406-309-0371. Incident Commander is Mike Wilkins.

For information on the Motorway Complex (southern fires) including Woodrat (near Syringia), Big Hill, Four Bit, Slide, and Jay Point near Powell, please call 208-507-2643 or 208-926-4170. Incident Commander is Greg Poncin.

For information on the Selway Complex 2015 fires near Elk City including the Wash and Baldy Fires, please call 877-367-9503. Incident is Commander Mike Dueitt.

Fire information can also be obtained at www.facebook.com/centralidahofires and http://inciweb.nwcg.gov.

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 in central Idaho and delivers the public accurate and timely information

Update (1:15 p.m. Saturday): Per Clearwater Complex command, the Idaho County Sheriff's Office has issued a Stage 2 Evacuation for residents in an area between Syringa and Lowell. From the IMT:

The Idaho County Sheriff has issued a Stage 2 Evacuation for residents south of Clearwater River from Lodge Creek on the east to Big Horse Canyon on the West. This includes Tinker, little Tinker and Tahoe Creeks. (Hwy 12 reference points - from a line south of mile marker 93 to mile marker 85). At this time, fire has not crossed the highway or river, but is pushing the lines immediately north of highway 12.

Update (1:30 p.m. Saturday): For public safety reasons, the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are asking recreationists currently on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests to leave, and are asking those planning to come to plan to go elsewhere. Some areas, such as the Palouse Ranger District, may not be included in a closure order, which will be issued soon. From the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests:

Due to public safety concerns, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest officials are in the process of closing a large swath of national forest system land to public use. They request that:

  1. Recreationists currently on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests relocate to areas outside of national forest system lands safely away from fire activity, and
  2. Prospective Forest visitors Forest visitors find alternate locations away from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests at this time.

photo

This is a view just after 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, on the Mt. Idaho Grade, looking across the 2005 Blackerby Fire burn area toward State Highway 14.

Update (2 p.m. Saturday): This morning's update from the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests noted the possibility of winds ranging 25-35 miles per hour, with stronger gusting this afternoon:

A red flag warning has been issued for Saturday, August 29, until 7:00 p.m., meaning Saturday could be a critical fire weather day.

The National Weather Service issues red flag warnings to alert land management agencies about the possible onset of critical weather and fuel moisture conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity.

Saturday’s forecast calls for gusty winds, 25-35 mph with higher gusts in the afternoon, and low humidities.

Pubic and firefighter safety is the Forests’ number one priority, and Forest officials continue to encourage Forest visitors to: 1) seek out the latest fire and closure information; 2) drive defensively with the understanding there is limited visibility and heavy fire traffic on many Forest roads; and 3) be aware of their situation as it relates to fire. Forest officials are asking prospective visitors to avoid areas with active fire if it is at all possible.

The following is a summary of the major complexes and fires burning across the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests which are not assigned to incident management teams. With limited intelligence from on-the-ground and aerial observations, and infrared detection flights, acreages are approximate.

South Zone (Salmon River and Red River Ranger Districts)

Name: Red River Complex

Location: South of Elk City, Idaho

Started: August 17, 2015 Cause: Lightning

Total Acreage: 13,950 acres Containment: 0% Contained

Fires originally within Red River Complex: 6 fires

Active fires within the complex: Slaughter 100 acres, Lone Park and Crown (combined) 8440 acres, Rattlesnake 1500 acres, Noble Fire 555 acres, Little Green Fire 1200 acres.

Major Events: All six fires burned actively with rapid growth when the inversion lifted Friday. Level 3 evacuation notices were issued for Mallard Creek and Cook Ranches yesterday afternoon. Level 2 evacuation notices were issued for the Red River area and Elk City. Firefighting resources focus their efforts on structure protection.

Note: A spot fire was ignited north of the Salmon River ahead of the advancing Tepee Springs late Thursday. Firefighters were able to contain that small fire which was near Gasper Creek.

Central Zone (Lochsa-Powell and Moose Creek Ranger Districts)

Name: Lochsa South Complex

Location: South of Lochsa River from Warm Springs Creek to the Selway River

Started: August 15, 2015 Cause: Lightning

Total Acreage: 5535 acres Containment: 0% Contained

Fires originally within Lochsa South Complex: 12

Active Fires within the Complex: Sponge Fire 3000 acres, Grit Fire 400 acres, Lone Knob Fire 400 acres, Fire Creek 400 acres, Air Strip Fire 980 acres.

Major Events: Structure protection continues for Wilderness Gateway Campground and outfitter area, the Fish Lake airstrip and cabin, and Gold Meadows and Horsecamp Cabins.

Name: Wilderness Complex

Location: Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness (much of the Moose Creek Ranger District)

Started: August 4, 2015 Cause: Lightning

Total Acreage: 14,900 acres

Fires originally within the Wilderness Complex: 8

Active Fires within the Complex: Roll Creek 7800 acres, Rock Point 250 acres, Meeker 2400 acres, Baily 1500 acres, Army Mule Fire 2100 acres, Wahoo 650 acres, Wahoo Fire 650 acres.

Major Events: Point protection continues for Wilderness cabins, pack bridges and lookouts.

Name: Boulder Fire Location: 5 miles west of Lolo Pass

Started: August 14, 2015 Cause: Lightning

Total Acreage: 5200 acres Containment: 0% contained

Major Events: The Fire is now being managed by the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team, and will be included in their updates and dropped from Forest updates.

North Zone (Palouse and North Fork Ranger Districts)

Name: Larkin Complex Location: Roughly 30 airline miles NE of Pierce

Started: August 17, 2015 Cause: Lightning

Total Acreage: 4990 acres Containment: 0% Contained

Fires originally within the Complex (including Wolf Pack Fires): 14

Active Fires within the Complex: Snow Creek Fire 2300 acres, Wolf Pack Fire 980 acres, and Heather Fire 1370 acres, Minnesaka 225, and Roaring 100.

Major Events: Complex has been assigned to a local incident management team.

Name: Scurvy Mountain Fire Location: 28 miles ENE of Pierce, Idaho

Started: August 21, 2015 Cause: Lightning

Total Acreage: 390 acres Containment: 0% contained

Major Events: This fire has been assigned to a local incident management team

Update (2:15 p.m. Saturday): The Idaho County Sheriff's Office has issued Level I evacuation notices for the Riggins and Riggins-Slate Creek areas, and a Level I alert for the Whitebird-Slate Creek area:

RIGGINS - LEVEL 1

WHITEBIRD to SLATE CREEK - LEVEL 1

SLATE CREEK to RIGGINS - LEVEL 2

Everyone should be aware of the fire activity in their area and plan accordingly for possible evacuation. The fires are being wind driven and are moving swiftly. If you feel uncomfortable or are concerned for your safety do not wait to be told to evacuate.

The entry above was corrected at 3:45 p.m. (SOURCE)

Update (2:30 p.m. Saturday): From the Idaho Transportation Department:

State Highway 14, between Hungry Ridge Road and The West Elk City Limits is blocked due to forest fire. Open for local access only. Delays, From milepost 23 to milepost 49, from Hungry Ridge Road to Elk City.

Update (2:30 p.m. Saturday): Command: Due to active fire behavior on the north side of U.S. Highway 12 is one lane and a pilot car is being used from Sutler Creek to Syringa. From the Idaho Transportation Department:

Between Suttler Creek Road and Selway River Road (7 to 15 miles east of the Kooskia area). Look out for a serious fire. A pilot car is in operation. Drive with extreme caution.

Update (4 p.m. Saturday): The combined complexes (Motorway/Municipal/Motorway North) are 81,000 acres and 75 percent contained with 515 personnel. This morning's update from the incident management team.

Update (8 p.m. Saturday): Here's the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests' system closure order.

Update (8 p.m. Saturday): The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests have posted Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert's remarks on the closure in this evening update:

Many of the widespread wildfires on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests made significant runs today, pushed by gusty winds and low relative humidities.

“The weather conditions that materialized today were even worse than predicted,” said Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert. “I am extremely concerned about the safety of the people, communities and firefighters that may be in the paths of these rapidly-spreading fires.”

As a precautionary measure during extensive and severe fire activity, the Forests have issued an area closure prohibiting “human entry” into lands managed by the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, with the exception of the Palouse Ranger District.

“I understand this will be inconvenient for some people, but our priority is public safety. We will evaluate the situation on a day-by-day basis, but it will take a significant change in weather to improve our fire situation.”

Forest Supervisor Probert requests that all visitors re-locate to lands outside the Forests away from fire activity, and that all prospective visitors find alternate locations away from the closure area.

National forest system roads can be used to exit the Forest. For state and county road information, contact the local sheriff’s office and Idaho Department of Transportation.

Fire managers are in the process of evaluating the spread of area fires and will provide revised acreage updates tomorrow.

Closure notices related to fire activity are posted at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/nezperceclearwater/home. Click on the “Fire Information” icon at the top of the page.

Update (8:30 p.m. Saturday): The Tepee Springs Fire has crossed the Salmon River and is "well established and burning actively" on Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests land. More from the Tepee Springs Fire IMT:

The Tepee Springs Fire has crossed the Main Salmon River and is well established and burning actively on the Nez Perce National Forest. On the western edge of the fire, it is in the Berg and Little Berg drainages. It is well established on both sides of Allison Creek, and on the eastern side, has well established spot fires near Chamberlain Gulch and in Flock Canyon.

A Community meeting will take place at the Salmon River High School in Riggins on Sunday, August 30 at 6 p.m.

Update (10 p.m. Saturday): A Public Meeting will be held Sunday, August 30 at 5 p.m. at the Three Rivers Resort and Motel. More from the Motorway Complex / Jay Point Fire team:

A Public Meeting will be held Sunday, August 30 at 5 p.m. at the Three Rivers Resort and Motel.

Weather: Scattered thunderstorms this afternoon brought light rain to some locations as well as some erratic, gusty winds. Throughout the fire area, winds were not as high as forecast today. Lows tonight will be 47 to 57, relative humidity will recover to 75 to 95%, and winds will be downslope/down valley 2 to 5 miles per hour with westerly winds at 5 to 15 miles per hour. There is a slight chance of showers tonight and a good chance of showers on Sunday.

Wood Rat: Crews worked to secure firelines near residences north of Highway 12 near Mile Marker 85 and Reflection Inn as the fire backed down the hill. The fire held its position on the northwest side. Firefighters worked to connect a fireline from the Suttler Creek Road down to Highway 12. On the east side, the 101 Road held today and crews continued to work to improve line in the Smith Creek area. Tonight, structure protection crews will patrol along Highway 12.

Slide Fire: The hand line on Telephone Ridge held today. Fire managers moved in heavy equipment for a possible contingency line closer to Lowell. This will be a “shaded fuelbreak” which involves removing trees and brush from a corridor in which a conventional firebreak could be installed later if needed. Engine crews and other personnel protected the Fenn Ranger Station and other stations as fire backed down Fenn Face. A night shift crew will patrol the parts of the fire that are near structures.

Jay Point and Boulder Fires: Crews worked today on the Jay Point Fire to hold a fire line from Social Corner to the east along the Tom Buell Road and developed contingency plans to ensure that the fire is held away from Powell. They continued to improve structure protection measures near the Powell Ranger Station and the Lochsa Lodge. These areas will be patrolled tonight. The Boulder Fire did not increase in size significantly today, but a few spot fires developed near the Montana border.

Smoke Concerns: Air quality continues to be unhealthy. For more information on current air quality conditions, visit http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/ and http://app.airsis.com/USFS/fleet.aspx. For information about mitigating smoke related health hazards, visit http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/p/smoke-and-health.html

Closures: The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests have issued an area closure prohibiting “human entry” into lands managed by the forests, with the exception of the Palouse Ranger District. Closures are listed at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices



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