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Idaho State News

Elkhorn Fire Crews Concerned About Flash Flooding in the Wake of Hurricane Hilary

MCCALL – The Elkhorn Fire remains 26,048 acres and 45% complete.  Today will be warmer with the chance of showers increasing into the evening. A major weather change will begin on Sunday when the first surge of tropical moisture moves north into our region. Potential heavy rainfall from moisture associated with Hurricane Hilary could increase risk of flooding, rock and mudslides, and debris flows. Heavy rainfall (over an inch) is expected Sunday through Tuesday. Steep terrain combined with a severe burn scar and precipitation can result in flash flooding within minutes of precipitation beginning. For weather updates visit the National Weather Service Missoula Forecast Office https://www.weather.gov/mso/.  Learn how to prepare at https://www.ready.gov/floods.

There is a detour on the Divide Trail #505 while firefighters and heavy equipment are working from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., in this area. They will be removing merchantable logs to landing piles, masticating debris, and beginning the implementation of waterbars. The alternate route is from the junction of the Divide Trail #505 and Forest Road 468, west to Forest Road 1172, northeast to the Red River Road #234, then southeast on Forest Road 1170 to Forest Road 1170C to the junction of Forest Road 1170C and the Divide Trail #505. Fire personnel will also be using boats, helicopters, and vehicles to backhaul structural protection equipment no longer needed from Whitewater Ranch downriver to China Bar.

Communication continues with the boaters entering the river at Corn Creek and again at Hancock Rapids before entering the fire footprint along the river corridor. Boaters are required to stop at Hancock Campsite on river-left, at river mile 26.1 to receive further instruction via a river information board regarding passing through and camping in the area of the Elkhorn Fire. Please read the river information board for any changes that may have occurred since you left Corn Creek launch. Camping, recreating (i.e., picnic, bathroom breaks and beach walking) and stopping through the area of Elkhorn fire activity is allowed with some exceptions. Once past Hancock Camp (River Mile 26.1) there is no stopping until boaters pass Magpie Creek Camp (River Mile 29.6). After passing Magpie Creek Camp, boaters will be allowed to camp and recreate on a First Come, First Served basis everywhere except: Upper Allison, Allison, Lower Allison, Whitewater Camp. After passing Whitewater Ranch (River Mile 39) there are no restrictions connected to the Elkhorn Fire.  For additional information on rafting, contact the river desk at 208-756-5587 or 208-481-2625.

 The U.S. Forest Service Nez Perce-Clearwater and Payette National Forests issued the Elkhorn fire area, roads and trails closure order #01-17-05-23-003, https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices/?aid=82169 that spans both sides of the Salmon River but excludes the Salmon River Wild and Scenic Corridor below the high-water line.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place for a two-mile buffer around the fire perimeter. All aircraft (including drones) not assigned to the fire are required to remain out of the TFR area between 0900-2100.

Fire info and daily air quality updates are available on InciWeb https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident-information/idpaf-elkhorn-fire and the Payette National Forest Facebook https://www.facebook.com/payettenationalforest.