KAMIAH, Idaho: July 12, 2023– Fire season is officially under way on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. The hillsides around North-central Idaho’s river canyons are beginning to take on their annual brown and gold hues as summer winds and warmer weather continue to dry out the native grasses, shrubs, and trees.
Current fire danger across the Grangeville Dispatch Area ranges from MODERATE to VERY HIGH and will likely keep trending higher with forecasted hot and dry weather.
“We are expecting fire activity to pick up now, especially in the low and mid elevations where fuels are the driest” stated Kevin Pfister, Fire Staff Officer for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.
Pfister also stated that “our data from fuel sampling is also showing that our live fuel moistures are below average for this time of year”. “Even though we had a good snowpack this winter, it melted off rather quickly and most of North-central Idaho did not receive wide-spread wetting spring rains”.
As of today, there are two active large fires on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests:
The Little Bear Fire on the Powell Ranger District is approximately 176 acres and located about ten miles southwest of Powell, Idaho near the wilderness boundary. A type 3 Organization has been established for this fire and current operations consist of structure protection efforts for a nearby pack-bridge. Fire managers expect to implement a trail closure for the section of FS Trail #213 between its junction with FS Trail #49 and Bear Mountain Lookout soon.
There is currently no flight or area restrictions in place for this fire, but please be aware of and stay clear of all firefighting operations both on the ground and in the air.
The Midnight Fire on the Salmon River Ranger District is approximately 350 acres and located about 10 miles southeast of Clearwater, Idaho. A local Type 4 organization is still in place today working to establish containment lines utilizing both aerial and ground resources. A local Type 3 Incident Command Team is being established and will assume command of this fire tomorrow morning. Heavy firefighting traffic is expected to continue through the weekend on FS Roads #244, #284, and #1852 as more resources arrive and continue to contribute to the suppression efforts. A fire camp may be established near McComas Meadows.
There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) being established over the entire Midnight fire area for the safety of the aviation resources on scene.
Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests fire information is available online at https://bit.ly/NPCFireInfo, on social media at www.facebook.com/NPClwNFs and www.twitter.com/NPClwNFs, or by calling your local ranger station. Report all wildfires to the Grangeville Interagency Dispatch Center (208-983-6800) or call 911.