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Fire restrictions and closures lifting, but hunters should stay informed



Cooler weather and precipitation, including snowstorms in the central Idaho mountains, have slowed fire activity and allowed land agencies to lift some restrictions, and the Forest Service expects to lift more by the weekend.

But all lands have not reopened and hunters should check before heading to their hunting spots.

Hunters should also note that there are two basic actions taking place by land management agencies. First, fire restrictions are being lifted, which apply to campfires, barbecues, gas engines and other flame-producing devices. Cooler weather has allowed land management agencies to lift most fire restrictions, but hunters should double check if they are camping and want a campfire.

The second action is lifting land closures, and agencies are allowing people to return to many areas adjacent to fires while keeping the areas near the fires closed to public access.

Hunters can see fire activity and get information about access closures and campfire restrictions at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/fire. Fire closure maps will be updated as new information arrives, but there may be some lag time while maps are redrawn.

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests have eased some area closures in the Red River area. A closure associated with the complex south and east of Red River was lifted and replaced with a smaller closure south and east of Red River. The closed area is, roughly, south of the Magruder Road and north the Salmon River.

Areas north and east of Riggins and south of Grangeville are closed due to the Tepee Springs Fire, as are several key roads into the area.

With area closures lifting, hunters should have access to most areas. Hunters who bought elk tags in five zones had until Sept. 11 to decide if they wanted to keep their tags, exchange them for a different elk tag, or turn in their tags for a receipt they can redeem for another tag later this year.

Coho salmon season ends Sept. 18

The second-ever season for coho salmon in Idaho will end Friday, Sept. 18, at midnight in the mainstem Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater and North Fork Clearwater rivers.

Based on fish counts and tag detections at Columbia River dams, the estimated number of adult coho salmon returning to the Clearwater River is far less than the preseason forecast.



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