Increasing temperatures and lower humidities combined with increasing instability brings the potential for higher fire growth today. Several resources have reached their time on duty limits and are being released. With the current demand for resources around the area and the country, finding replacements continues to be challenging.
Coordination with other incidents in the area is ongoing with joint strategic decisions being made to prioritize objectives and share resources where needed. The Northern Rockies Area remains at preparedness level 5, which is the highest level indicating significant fire activity and shortage of resources. There were 35 new fires reported and 26 uncontained large fires yesterday. There are currently 9 Incident Management Teams committed within the Northern Rockies Area.
The Dixie Fire grew by nearly 2000 acres yesterday. Crews were able to continue burnout operations on the east side of Dixie moving north from the areas previously burned. These operations were largely successful helping to reduce the threat to structures in the area. The ground crews were assisted by aircraft dropping water and retardant to help keep the burnout operations under control. Heavy equipment crews continued working down the west side of Dixie to extend and improve the containment lines there, as well as working on the north end of the fire to improve the fire line and protect structures. Along the Salmon River, crews continue to set up equipment and implement structure protection measures. The night shift worked last night primarily in the areas where burnout operations had taken place to ensure the containment lines were holding and the fire didn’t cross them. Today, crews will continue with similar assignments while watching for increased fire behavior due to expected weather conditions.
Burnout operations may be necessary around structures near the Salmon River depending on fire activity in that area. Additional equipment is expected to be brought into the river area via helicopter if conditions allow.
The Jumbo Fire is located west of the Dixie Fire and grew another 77 acres yesterday. Several firefighters from a Helitack crew were inserted on the west side of the fire yesterday to continue evaluating structures and beginning structure protection preparations. Several loads of equipment were delivered to this area via helicopter to support structure protection operations. Crews will continue preparations for structure protection today.
Weather and Smoke
Temperatures are expected to be 80-90 degrees across the area today. Winds are expected to be out of the north/northwest at 5-8 mph with gusts to 15 mph. Smoke from several fires in the region will remain visible. Air Quality Index values will be in the USG (Unhealthy to Sensitive Groups) to Unhealthy range across the area. For more information on smoke visit https://fire.airnow.gov/.
Daily Briefing and Facebook Location
Dixie and Jumbo Fire information will be moving to a dedicated Facebook page starting today. Our live daily briefing will still be held on the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forest site at 9:00 AM PDT through Facebook Live (no account required) today but starting tomorrow that will shift to the new site.
Salmon River “Keep on Floating” Order
Recreators on the Salmon River are reminded there is a “Keep on Floating” order in effect between Whitewater Ranch and Jim Moore Campsite. Floaters are directed not to stop or camp on either side of the river. The Jim Moore Campsite is included in the no-stopping area, please move past it to clear the restricted area.
Based on current fire activity and the potential for additional fires across the region, land management agencies and fire managers in the Grangeville Fire Restrictions Area have decided to implement STAGE 2 FIRE RESTRICTIONS starting at 12:01 A.M. on Friday, July 16. See Inciweb for more information: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/7608/60737/.
On July 6, the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation orders for the Dixie and Comstock area. For evacuation information and updates, please call 208-983-1100 or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Idaho-County-Sheriffs-Office-178393728844032.
A portion of the Red River Ranger District, and portions of several other ranger districts of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are under a closure. Copies of the official closure orders and maps of the closed area are available online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices under “Public Notices.”