Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Fire Update

Release Date: Aug 8, 2017  

The hot temperatures and long days encourage visitors to the rivers of North Central Idaho.  However, a number of those rivers have fire virtually to their banks.  Often the river canyons are steep, and the public is encouraged to keep an eye out for rolling or falling logs and other debris from above the river bank.   Enjoy the majestic rivers of the national forests, but use caution appropriate to the conditions.

Firefighter and public safety is the number one priority in wildland fire management and emergency response.  Forest and Fire Management Staff considered the long-term effects of smoke in their decision to manage fires in the wilderness and roadless areas.  Fire managers are working with air quality specialists to monitor smoke and potential impacts to communities.  In addition to smoke impacts, values at risk, availability of resources, and location were considered in determining suppression actions of fires not threatening communities.

For current air quality in Idaho, please visit http://www.deq.idaho.gov/air-quality/burning/current-wildfire-smoke-info/ and for Montana http://svc.mt.gov/deq/todaysair/smokereport/mostrecentupdate.aspx .

 

With the threat of wildfire danger increasing rapidly throughout many parts of north central Idaho, local land management agencies will implement Stage 1 Fire Restrictions in the Grangeville Fire Restrictions Area, Riverbreaks and Hells Canyon National Recreation Area beginning at 12:01 a.m. on August 9, 2017.

The western boundary of the Riverbreaks predominately follows the Snake River. The northern extent follows the southern edge of the IDL Ponderosa protection area; Hwy 12; the Clearwater/Idaho County line; and Lolo Creek until it meets the western boundary of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests boundary. The eastern extent continues south along the National Forest property. The southern extent includes a 2-7 mile wide dogleg that buffers Hwy 95 from Slate Creek to Gotzinger.  All portions of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area within the State of Idaho.  Stage 1 Fire Restrictions will remain in effect until further notice. Please visit http://www.idahofireinfo.com/ for current information regarding fire restrictions or contact your local land management office. 

 

Current status by district: 

Salmon River Ranger District

The Hanover fire is currently being managed by Irv Leach’s Type 2 Incident Management Team.  Information for the Hanover fire can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5459/

For more information on fire activity or area closures on Salmon River Ranger District, please call (208) 839-2211.

 

Lochsa/Powell Ranger District

The Hidden fire is now 3,068 acres and still burning with in the footprint of the 2007 Bridge fire.  Most of the fire activity is occurring in the dead and down trees from the older fire.  Large patches of timber that did not burn in 2007, for the most part, are not burning at this time.   The majority of the fire growth was to the west in the Tadpole Creek drainage, and the fire is on the shores of Hidden Lake.  Fire behavior was moderate Monday due to smoke and cooler temperatures in the local area.  Monitoring of the fire with ground and aerial resources will continue.  The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests and Bitterroot National Forest are working together in the long-term management and strategy for this fire.  Trail closures remain in effect.  Smoke is expected to impact the local area as well as the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys.

On the Hilton fire, firefighters continue to mop-up and patrol the 5.5-acre fire 1.5 miles southwest of Beaver Ridge Lookout. Fire personnel plan to leave the fire today, at which point it will be put in a patrol and monitor status via ground and aerial resources.

For more information on fire activity or area closures on the Locsha/Powell Ranger District, please call (208) 942-3113.

 

Moose Creek Ranger District

All current fires are in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  These fires are being monitored primarily by air and are being managed for long-term resource benefit.

The Moose Creek 1 fire is 6,449.  Crews conducted burnout operations below Shissler Lookout and around East Moose Bridge Monday.  Structure protection remains in place on the Shissler Lookout. The Halfway, Meeker and Three Links bridges have been wrapped and have pumps and hose in place for their protection.    Visitors recreating on the Selway River should expect to see smoke and fire in the area and use extreme caution as trees are currently falling in and around the river.

The Lone Pine fire is 4,867.  Minimal fire growth was noted Monday.  The Mink Peak fire is 642 acres, growing into Pack Creek to the southeast.  Smoke will impact the Selway River corridor. The Buck Lake fire, in the Buck Lake Creek drainage, is 343 acres, moving slowly to the northeast.   The Sixty Two fire in the Sixty Two Creek remains estimated at 15 acres.   Fry Pan fire on the Bitterroot National Forest boundary is 95 acres, with minimal growth.  Moe fire near Moe Peak has not shown smoke for several days. 

For more information on fire activity or area closures on the Moose Creek Ranger District, please call (208) 926-4258.

 

Red River Ranger District

The Plummer fire in the Gospel Hump Wilderness five miles north of the mouth of Sheep Creek (on the Salmon River) is estimated at 10-15 acres.   It is managed for resource benefits.

Fires in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness include:  the Rattlesnake Point fire on the north side of the Salmon River between Rattlesnake Creek and Nixon Creek is 2,514 acres.  The fire continues to move primarily to the east and northeast toward Sabe Creek drainage.  Communication between the Nez Perce-Clearwater and Bitterroot National Forests is in place in anticipation that the fire will cross the boundary between the forests.  The forests are working together in the long-term management and strategy for this fire. The Ladder fire (2 acres) was quiet Monday, and the Bleak fire (132 acres) showed some growth to the north.   Sheep Hill Lookout has been wrapped to protect it from fire.   All three fires are being managed for resource benefits using a point protection strategy.  Visitors recreating on the Magruder Road and the Salmon River should expect to see smoke and fire in the area of Bargamin Creek drainage.   An area closure is in effect.

For more information on fire activity or area closures on the Red River Ranger District, please call (208) 842-2245.

 

North Fork Ranger District

The Lolo National Forest to the east of the North Fork Ranger District has implemented an area closure which may impact visitors to the Nez-Perce Clearwater National Forests, specifically those wishing to access Hoodoo Pass, Hoodoo Lake and the areas adjacent to the pass via Forest Road #250.  For information about the Lolo National Forest closure and the Sunrise fire which forced the closure, please visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5379/#

For fire information on Moose Creek 1, Rattlesnake Point, Lone Pine, and Hidden please visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/13/# .

 

Know before you go - Fire and closure information will be posted on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests website at www.fs.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater.

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