Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

DailyflyDailyfly

Local News

Wind and Warmer Weather Combine to Increase Fire Activity on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests

KAMIAH — Several active fires on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests grew significantly over the last few days. A return to warmer daytime and overnight temperatures, combined with consistent winds, has created a recipe for some fires to grow faster than Initial Attack efforts could suppress them.

This will result in some access impacts on the forest as closures are put in place for public safety and fire managers develop strategies to look at longer-term planning for these incidents. New closure orders are forthcoming due to the Twin Lakes Fire on the Salmon River Ranger District, the Williams Creek Fire on the Red River Ranger District, and the Deep Creek Fire on the North Fork Ranger District. More site-specific information for these fires is provided below. Closure information will be available at http://bit.ly/NPCFireInfo and at your local ranger stations as soon as closures are finalized.

The Williams Creek Fire near Wildhorse Lake on the Red River District offered a very difficult initial response for firefighters due to heavy fuel loadings and difficult access options in the area.

“District firefighters, smokejumpers, helitack personnel, and a combination of retardant tankers and helicopters hit the fire very hard immediately after detection on the afternoon of August 29,” said Fire Information Specialist Jim Wimer. “The fire was about 50 acres when aircraft had to shutdown for the day, and the fire continued to burn actively through the night, despite the best efforts of firefighters during initial attack. This has made it unsafe for firefighters on the ground to continue engaging the fire with the same strategy.”

The nearest community to the Williams Creek Fire is Orogrande.

“The community of Orogrande has taken the initiative to move forward with fuels treatments and hazard reduction work in conjunction with the Forest Service in recent years. This has helped to create more options for firefighters to safely engage wildfires and protect the community from events just like this,” said Marty Mitzkus, Acting Forest Supervisor for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. “Firefighters on the ground and in the air at the Williams Creek Fire gave it everything they could to stop this fire that first day, but simply came up against too much dead and down fuels, and the fire outpaced them. Now, for their safety and the safety of the community of Orogrande, our efforts will be focused on the areas closer to the community where prior fuels treatments will give firefighters a better chance of success.”

Current Fires on the Nez Perce-Clearwater NF as of reporting time:

Full Suppression Strategy Defined: This strategy implies that a fire will be “put out” as efficiently and effectively as possible while providing for both firefighter and public safety.

Point Protection Strategy Defined:  A wildfire response strategy which protects specific assets or highly valued resources from the wildfire and may also utilize features such as past wildfires or prescribed fires, roads, rivers, etc. to ultimately prevent the fire from impacting more distant values.

Salmon River Ranger District

Fires with a full Suppression Strategy

The Rapid Creek Fire has been suppressed and declared out.

Fires with a Point Protection Strategy

The Twin Lakes Fire is located about 23 miles Southwest of Elk City, ID within the Gospel Hump Wilderness. Current fire size is about 150 acres with fire activity increasing over the last few days. Fire managers anticipate increased fire behavior today as well. An area closure for the Twin Lakes/Square Mountain area is expected to be implemented soon.

The Ace Fire is located about 28 miles Southwest of Elk City, ID. Current fire size is about 1/10 acre with minimal growth or activity.


Moose Creek Ranger District

Fires with a Full Suppression Strategy

The Upper Swiftwater Fire is located about six miles Southeast of Syringa, ID. Fire size is approximately 1.5 acres and is now in patrol status.

The Falls Fire is located about 18 miles Southeast of Syringa, ID. This fire is approximately 3/4 acre, and also in patrol status.

Fires with a Point Protection Strategy

The Glover Fire is located about 12 miles East of Lowell, ID and five miles East of Coolwater Lookout. Fire size is approximately 90 acres.

The Little Copper Fire is located about 24 miles Southeast of Lowell, ID and six miles to the Southeast of Indian Hill Lookout. Fire size is approximately 220 acres.

The Meeker Fire is located seven miles Northwest of Moose Creek Air Strip. Fire size is about 1/10 acre. Local fire managers are hoping to get an aerial reconnaissance of the fire later this week.

The Rhoda Fire is located approximately five miles south of Fish Like Air Strip. This fire is 1/10 acre with very minimal fire activity. Local fire managers are hoping to get an aerial reconnaissance of the fire later this week.

The Battle Creek Fire is located within 10 miles South of Elk Summit on the Powell Ranger District. Fire size is roughly 1/10 acres with minimal fire activity. Local fire managers are hoping to get an aerial reconnaissance of the fire later this week.

The Brave Fire is located about seven miles East of Moose Creek Landing Strip. The fire size is about two acres.

The Meadow Creek Fire is located about three miles South of Selway Falls. Fire size is about 1/4 acre and is expected to be out within a few days.


North Fork Ranger District:

Fires with a Point Protection Strategy

The Lower Twin Fire is located about 20 miles Northeast of Headquarters, ID in brush and timber. This fire is approximately 40 acres in size. Fire activity has been moderate. Currently, Trail #268 is closed.

The Wallow Fire is located about 25 miles Northeast of Headquarters, ID. This fire is approximately 330 acres in size and now burning in sparser fuels. There is a closure order currently in place for Forest Service Trail #101 from its junction with Forest Service Road #710 to its junctions with FSR #5371. There is also a closure order in place for Forest Service Trail #268 from its junctions with FSR #247 to the trail’s end.

The Bruin Hill Fire is located about 20 miles Northwest of Powell, ID within about 3.5 miles of the Idaho/Montana border. Fire size is about five acres. This fire is in close proximity to areas burnt by previous wildfires. Fire activity is minimal. There are no closures associated with this fire.

The Deep Creek Fire is located about 14 miles Northeast of Headquarters, ID. Fire size is about 40 acres and showing moderate fire activity. Currently there is moderate potential for large growth. Fire managers expect a trail closure for the Cave Point Trail#617 in the coming days.

The Wolf Fire is located 28 miles Northeast of Headquarters, ID. Fire size is about 15 acres with minimal fire activity. The fire is within an old burn scar.

The Cold Springs Fire is 25 miles northeast of Headquarters, ID. Fire size is about two acres with minimal fire activity.

The Isabella Point Fire is approximately six miles North of Canyon Work Center. Fire size is about 1/2 acre with minimal fire activity.

The Heart Peak Fire is approximately six miles North of Canyon Work Center. Fire size is also about 1/2 acre with minimal fire activity.


Lochsa-Powell Ranger District

Fires with a Full Suppression Strategy

The Spruce Fire has been suppressed and declared out.

The Double Beaver Fire is located about nine miles East of Powell, ID. The fire has been held to approximately three acres in size. The fire is currently in containment status.

Fires with a Point Protection Strategy

The Castle Fire is located about 28 miles Northeast of Lowell, ID. The current size is approximately 425 acres with minimal fire activity or growth over the last couple of days. Castle Butte Lookout and radio repeater site remain safe and operational.

The Van Camp Fire is located about 15 miles Northeast of Syringa, ID. This fire is now 740 acres and continues to impact several roads and trails. Closures are in place for the following:

·       NFST #705 Upper Deadman Trail, closed from junction with NFSR #483 to junction with NFST #192

·       NFST #16 Van Camp Trail, closed from junction with U.S. Highway 12 to end of trail.

·       NFSR #481 Van Camp Rd, closed from junction with NFSR #483 to end of road.

·       NFSR #481-S, closed from junction with NFSR #481 to end of road.

The Fire Creek Fire is located within the Coolwater Rx prescribed fire project boundary. This fire is approximately 198 acres and continues to show low to moderate activity as it backs downslope.

The Post Office Fire is located about 14 miles Northwest of Powell, ID. This fire is approximately 100 acres in size. Closures are in place for the following:

  • NFST #919, Closed from junctions with U.S. Highway 12 to end of trail.
  • NFSR #500 Lolo Motorway, Closed from Saddle Camp to Cayuse Junction.
  • NFSR #566 Doe Creek Road, Closed from junctions with NFSR #108 to end of road.

The Howard Creek Fire is located about 18 miles West of Powell, ID. This fire is approximately seven acres in size. Fire activity is moderate with creeping and smoldering.

The South Fork Fire is about 18 miles East of Powell Ranger Station. Fire size is about 200 acres and showing increased fire activity for the last few days. Fire managers anticipate increased fire activity and potential smoke impacts for the Bitterroot Valley over the next few days.

The Ranger Fire is located 14 miles East of Powell, ID. Fire size is estimated to be about 1/2 acre. Fire activity has been minimal.

The Warm Springs Fire is located about 11 miles South of Powell, ID within the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. Fire size is about 1/10 acre.

The Savage Ridge Fire is located about five miles Southeast of Powell Ranger Station. Fire size is currently about one acre with minimal fire activity.

The Coolwater Fire is located about seven miles Northwest of Lowell, ID. Fire size is 1/10 acre and showing minimal fire activity.


Red River Ranger District

Fires with a Full Suppression Strategy

The Star Fire is located five miles West of Elk City, ID. Fire size is 1/4 acre. Currently, the fire is in containment status.

The Snoose Creek Fire is located 18 miles Southeast of Grangeville, ID. Fire size is about 1/4 acre. Currently, the fire is in containment status.

Fires with a Point Protection Strategy

The Williams Creek Fire is located five miles West of Orogrande, ID in the Gospel Hump Wilderness. Fire size is approximately 626 acres with increased fire activity. Fire managers expect potential impacts to some roads and trails in the immediate fire area. More information will be posted as it becomes available.

The 3 Prong Fire is located 14 miles Northeast of Red River Work Center. Fire size is currently 92 acres.

The Lynx Meadows Fire is located about 20 miles East of Elk City, ID. Current size is approximately 79 acres.

The Bleak Fire is located roughly 20 miles Northeast of Dixie, ID and 22 miles Southeast of Elk City, ID. The fire is less than 1/10 acre and currently showing no smoke.

The Rhett Fire is located about five miles Southeast of Dixie, ID, within the 2021 Dixie Fire burn scar. Fire size is about 1/10 acre with no smoke showing at this time.

The Rainey Fire is located approximately 18 miles Southeast of Elk City, ID. Fire size is about 1/2 acre with a few small spots.


Every fire receives a strategic, risk-based response that is commensurate with the threats and opportunities of that incident and uses the full spectrum of management actions that consider fire and fuel conditions, weather, values at risk, and resources available. These considerations are in alignment with the applicable Land and Resource Management Plan.

Wilderness Policy:  The objectives of fire management in Designated Wilderness are to permit lightning-caused fires to play, as nearly as possible, their natural ecological role within Wilderness, and to reduce to an acceptable level the risks and consequences of wildfire within Wilderness or escaping from Wilderness.

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, 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 911.