KIWAH FIRE UPDATE AUGUST 09, 2018

Release Date: Aug 9, 2018  

Contact(s): Amy Baumer


The lightning caused Kiwah Fire, detected at approximately 5:30 p.m. on July 17, 2018, estimated at 8,191 acres.  The fire is burning in sub-alpine fir, lodgepole pine, and spruce on the Middle Fork Ranger District and is being allowed to play, as nearly as possible, its natural ecological role in the environment while providing for firefighter and public safety.  The fire is located northwest of Indian Creek Guard Station within the Indian Creek drainage in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, in steep, inaccessible terrain.  Fire growth is primarily slope and fuels driven however wind has played a large factor during large fire growth.

The Kiwah Fire is being managed to restore and maintain ecological process consistent with the Salmon-Challis and Payette National Forests land management plans.  A priority of fire mangers is providing employee and public safety while defending the identified values at risk.  Specific values potentially threatened with this fire include private property and mining infrastructure, Forest Service Guard Stations, road and trail improvements, lookout buildings, communication sites, and cultural resources, in this case, are abandoned, but historical mining structures within the fire area.  Challenges firefighters are facing on this incident include providing protection for these values due extended hot and dry conditions, heavy fuel loading, and limited availability of firefighting resources to work this fire.

Firefighters are implementing a point protection strategy.  A point protection strategy is a wildfire response strategy, which protects specific assets or highly valued resources from the wildfire without directly halting the continued spread of the wildfire which takes in to account exposure to firefighters, values at risk, impacts to area user groups, and in the case of the Kiwah Fire, wilderness values.  The selected point protection strategy was determined to best balance for protection of values and firefighter safety.

To date firefighters have created protection plans for the Thunder Mountain, Indian Creek, and Pistol Creek areas.  Work has begun to implement these protection plans with significant progress in these areas.  Currently 38 firefighters are assigned to the Kiwah Fire and work will continue into the coming weeks.  Firefighters and fire managers will continue to utilize the resources available to most efficiently complete the needed work.  It is expected that the Kiwah Fire will continue to spread until a significant precipitation event occurs. Typical season ending weather events occur in this area between the last half of September through the first half of October. 

Currently, there are 47 uncontained large fires in the west, which are filtering smoke into the valleys surrounding Salmon and Challis.  You can find information about these fires on Inicweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.  Further information on smoke can be found at http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/, https://arcg.is/1zfeqH, and http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/.

High Haines (an atmospheric index used to indicate the potential for wildfire growth by measuring the stability and dryness of the air over a fire) and low humidity is likely through the weekend. Winds look to remain light through Friday as a cold front will not arrive until late Saturday Night. Gusty winds may develop on Saturday and may persist into Sunday.

Updates and information will be provided as significant changes occur.

Visit the Salmon-Challis National Forest website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/scnf/home, and check out News & Events, ‘Like Us’ on https://www.facebook.com/salmonchallisnf, and ‘Follow Us’ on https://twitter.com/SalmonChallisNF for further information. 

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https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/scnf/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD591000