Nez Perce-Clearwater Fire and Closure Updates - August 27, 2021

Release Date: Aug 27, 2021

KAMIAH, Idaho: August 27, 2021- Most fires on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest experienced cooler nights and enough rain this last week to either remove closures or substantially reduce them. This is good news to fall recreationists and hunters as additional areas are now opening for camping, hiking and other outdoor experiences including fall hunting. A few fire closures are still needed so Forest managers request that all forest visitors be aware of fire conditions and closures that may affect their plans.

“We greatly appreciate the public’s support and understanding during the recent wildfires and closures.  Let’s continue to be fire safe when visiting our public lands and help prevent human–caused wildfires,” said Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Supervisor Cheryl Probert.

“I know that these closures have affected how you use your public lands and we are trying to reduce the size and extent of closures as conditions change. We still have firefighters and contractors working in areas and on roads that are now open or opening to the public. We are asking everybody, both firefighters and the general public, to respect each other’s presence and purpose for utilizing these shared areas on our public lands.”

Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests managers remain aware of upcoming hunting seasons that open very soon in many areas. However, the Forest Service cannot guarantee when remaining closures will be removed. Hunters, especially early season hunters, should plan ahead and be prepared for the possibility of closures that may impact their hunting plans.

This week there were substantial changes to fire closures that opened access in areas previously closed on the Dixie-Jumbo and Lynx Fires on the south end of the Forest, the Granite Pass and Storm Theater Complex fires along the Lolo Motorway and the Swanson Creek Fire on the North Fork Ranger District.

For the most up to date information on fire-related closures on the forest, please continue to visit the Forest’s Fire Information web page (https://bit.lyNPCFireInfo) and scroll down to “Fire Closure Orders.” 

Red River Ranger District: 208-842-2245

The area closures around the Lynx and Jumbo fires have been terminated, and the Dixie Fire area closure has been pulled back to encompass approximately half the acreage of the original closure. These changes have resulted in no current closures in the Gospel Hump Wilderness; and the opening of Whitewater/Big Mallard Creek Road (FSR 421) and Mackey Bar/Dixie Road (FSR 222) north of Sam’s Creek in the Dixie area. The Mackey Bar road remains closed from south of Sam’s Creek in the Dixie area.

The Sheep Creek Fire is approximately 78 acres and located 25 miles Southwest of Elk City, Idaho in the Gospel Hump Wilderness are. This fire is a lighting holdover that was detected on Monday, August 23. This fire is located in the 2007 Rattlesnake Fire burn scar and surrounded by steep, rugged terrain making access difficult. Fire movement is predominantly backing off of Plummer Ridge into Sheep Creek and Plummer Creek drainages. No closures are in place around the Sheep Creek Fire area at this time, but fire managers will continue to monitor this fire closely for any movement, point protection, or closure needs.

The Lynx Fire is still estimated to be around 5,000 acres. This fire is located 23 miles east of Elk City, Idaho. This fire is being managed by a Type 4 Incident Commander at the local unit. Green Mountain Lookout is currently being staffed to monitor fire perimeter for any movement, and local resources are periodically patrolling the fire area down to Warm Springs Bar.

The Dixie and Jumbo Fires total acreage is still estimated around 46,000 acres. The Dixie fire and Jumbo fires are located 15 miles south of Elk City, Idaho, near the communities of Comstock and Dixie. Suppression repair and clean-up is taking place where feasible. Fire managers have amended current road and area closures to better meet public access needs while maintaining safety for firefighting and public traffic.

North Fork Ranger District: 208-476-4541

The Swanson Creek Fire area closure on the North Fork was reduced to encompass only about one third of the original closure area. This opened Washington Creek and Aquarius Campgrounds and access to the Sheep Mountain OHV area. Beaver/North Fork Road (FSR #247) is now open except for the section between Rock Creek and Burro Creek; the open section of this road provides access to the Quartz Creek area as well as popular campgrounds and access to the Sheep Mountain OHV area. Sheep Mountain Road (FSR #685) is also open providing access to the west and north areas of Sheep Mountain for recreation and just in time for the early archery season opener in Unit 10A. Forest Road #246 has been opened to Sneak Creek but remains closed for public and firefighter safety from Sneak Creek to Dead Horse Creek. The open section of Road #246 provides access to Shinn Point, Dead Horse Saddle and Clarke Mountain OHV areas. Forest Road #682 has opened, providing access to the June Saddle area.

The Swanson Creek Fire located 20 miles northeast of Pierce, Idaho is still estimated at 600 acres. This fire is being managed by a Type 4 Incident Commander from the local unit. Rain was reported in the fire area this morning. Ground resources continue to monitor fire perimeter for any activity, growth, or potential impacts. Suppression repair is taking place where feasible.

Lochsa-Powell Ranger District: 208-926-4274 / 208-942-3113

The Granite Pass Complex area closure near Lolo Pass has been updated, removing lands east of Highway 12 between Crooked Fork and Lolo Pass. Boundary roads included in this closure are now open and include Highway 12, Parachute Hill Road (FSR #569), previously closed segments of the Lolo Motorway (FSR #500), and the Elk Summit road (FSR #360) providing access to the Savage Pass and Elk Summit area.  

Additional closures have been removed along the Lolo Motorway opening road segments between Doe Creek road (FSR #566) and Powell Junction and from the Sinque Hole to Fan Creek road (FSR #519). The Saddle Camp Road (FSR #107) is now open from Highway 12 to the junction with the Lost Creek road (FSR #5601). 

The upper end of Saddle Camp Road #107 remains closed as does the Lolo Motorway between Fan Creek road and Cedar Creek road (FSR #520).

Storm Theatre Complex Update:

Updates: Incident managers took a flight over the fire area yesterday and observed smoke over the Bar Creek, Lonesome, and Storm Creek Fires. Fire crews on patrol are removing sprinkler systems, backhauling equipment and unwrapping structures where fire behavior allows. Castle Butte and Beaver Ridge Lookout are safely unwrapped. As vegetation dries out the fires will continue to smolder and show smoke.

Overview: The Storm Theatre Complex of 26 lightning-started backcountry fires is being managed by a Type 3 incident management organization led by Incident Commander Daren Turner. Since June, these fires have burned more than 22,316 acres across an 815,000-acre, mostly roadless area north of Highway 12, east of the Clearwater River, south of the Idaho Panhandle and Lolo National Forests, and west of the Bitterroot National Forest.

Suppression Strategy: “Point protection” measures are in place to protect critical infrastructure, including Highway 12, U.S. Forest Service roads, communication towers, recreation areas, bridges, and other values. Multiple structures remain wrapped with heat-resistant foil. Hose lays and sprinklers are pre-positioned should they be needed. Fires are monitored by aerial reconnaissance flights and regular ground patrols by firefighters.

Fire Name Estimated Size (Acres) Notes
500 ROAD .10  
ASHPILE 130  
BALD MOUNTAIN 159  
BAR CREEK 1,586 Smoke detected during recon flight
BEAR CREEK .10  
COPPER 100 Less smoke than previous days reported by grews on the ground.
COW CREEK 2  
JOHNAGAN 2  
LAKE 614  
LARKINS 9  
LARSON CREEK 28  
LONESOME 2,152 Burning on the west side of FSR 300 and remains north of FSR 500.
LOST RIDGE 50  
MIDDLE RIDGE 113  
MONROE LAKE 668  
MUTT CREEK 23  
NUM .10  
ROCKY 2 37  
SADDLE CAMP 310  
SHORT POINT 3  
SLIDE .10  
SNOW CREEK 992 Removing fallen cedar trees along FSR 500. Rehabbing fireline.
SPUD 360  
STORM CREEK 14,958  
WEITAS BUTTE 18  
WEITAS CREEK 2  
TOTAL 22,316.40  

Official forest closure orders are in effect for multiple fires. Please refer to the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests’ website for the Stage I Fire Restrictions and official closure orders: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/home/?cid=fsm91_055753

Temporary flight restrictions are in place over fire areas for the safety of the public and aerial firefighting resources. These restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems (drones). Remember, “If you fly, we can’t.”

Please continue to check for updated wildfire information on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests website (https://bit.ly/NPCFireInfo), on social media at www.facebook.com/NPClwNFs  and www.twitter.com/NPClwNFs, on the forest’s official mobile app (search “Nez Perce Clearwater” in your app store), or by calling your local ranger station. Report all wildfires to the Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Center (208-983-6800) or call 9-1-1.

###
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.





https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/nezperceclearwater/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD948169