Ridge Fire grows more than 600 acres; crews make good progress on Pine Creek Fire

July 18, 2013 

PINE CREEK FIRE

Fire managers reported excellent progress Friday evening on the human-caused Pine Creek Fire northeast of Boise.

The burnout on the fire's northern flank was completed by early afternoon. Firefighters used torches and fussees to intentionally burn the southern edge of a bull dozer line to prevent the fire from spreading further north. It was 40 percent contained.

“All of our resources worked diligently to accomplish a critical task today and to bring us another step closer to full containment of the fire," Incident Commander John Kidd said. "And they've maintained an excellent safety record while doing so.”

In other areas, firefighters continued to monitor the fire and mop up hot spots. Mop up will continue Saturday on the fire, which went from burning on 1,944 acres to 2,469 acres.

The fire, which started Monday off Grimes Creek Road about three miles north of Idaho Highway 21.

More than 400 firefighters are battling the blaze with equipment including six helicopters, 16 fire engines and a bulldozer, according to fire officials.

Grimes Creek Road was closed again Friday from the intersection with Clear Creek Road north to New Centerville. Officials had planned to reopen that section of road Friday afternoon, but it was announced Friday evening that the road would be closed at least through the day Saturday for the safety of firefighters and the public.

Fire managers urged residents and visitors to be cautious of the increased traffic around the fire, and they cautioned that smoke and dust along Grimes Creek Road will affect visibility. Traveling with headlights on is recommended.

An area closure remains in effect, and it's posted here.

The area west of Grimes Creek Road and north of Pine Creek Road is open, but camping is prohibited until further notice.

RIDGE FIRE

A lightning-sparked wildfire in the Boise National Forest north of Lowman expanded rapidly on Friday, growing more than 600 acres. It was burning on about 1,500 acres Friday evening.

The growth of the fire was aided by heat, strong westerly winds, and super-dry fuels, Jason Curry, public information officer for the Great Basin Incident Management Team, said.

The fire was being battled by 313 personnel and six helicopters - and another large helicopter had been ordered.

"We really want to get some progress made on this fire," Curry said.

The Ridge Fire was sparked at 3 p.m. Tuesday. It is spreading through a number of dry, dead trees that were killed by beetle infestations in the area. High winds initially helped the flames spread.

No structures were threatened.

Several hiking trails and backroads in the area are closed, but fire officials said all main roads are open.

The Warm Springs airstrip is closed to general aviation.

The public is invited to a meeting to learn more about the status of the fire and ask questions about it. The meeting starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at the Lowman Fire Station off Idaho 21.

Road closures include:

• The road to the Warm Springs airstrip

• National Forest Road 545 (O'Keefe Loop)

• National Forest Road 515 (Red Mountain Road)

Trail closures include:

• Long Creek #018

• Kirkham Ridge #144

• Link #148

• Warm Springs #147

• Red Mountain #145

SUMMIT FIRE

A wildfire in Boise County gained only 10 acres to end up at about 260 acres by Friday evening, according to the Idaho Department of Lands. The Summit Fire, about 14 miles northeast of Idaho City and four miles north of Pilot Peak, was 20 percent contained. Lightning started the fire Tuesday evening.

About 250 personnel worked the fire on Friday, and the IDL reported that it was pretty much holding in place.

Ground crews included six engines, 11 20-person hand crews and eight smoke jumpers. Progress was made on removing fuels to establish a perimeter around the fire.

Firefighters were being taken off the line Friday night to ensure their safety.

Aerial resources included three helicopters and three single engine air tankers.

Flames were burning mostly in subalpine fir and lodgepole pine trees. The fire is "group torching" the trees, an IDL spokeswoman said, referring to the several stands of trees that are engulfed in flame from the ground to the treetops.

The IDL said there is one known remote cabin in the area, but it wasn't threatened.

The Type 2 (regional) Great Basin Team 6 Incident Management Team Incident Commander Tracy Dunford is scheduled to take over management of the fire Saturday morning. An Incident Command Post will be staged in Crouch.

PAPOOSE FIRE

The wildfire near the Middle Fork of the Salmon River had grown to about 5,670 acres by Friday night, gaining nearly 780 acres since the night before. The Papoose Fire, which started July 8, is located about 40 miles west of Salmon.

The blaze was caused by a lightning strike, U.S. Forest Service officials said. Steep, inaccessible terrain is making it difficult for ground crews to get access to the fire. Firefighters are attempting to remove ground fuels to stem the fire's spread.

Firefighters were patrolling the river corridor by boat to assess campsites between Big Creek and Goat Creek. They were removing ground fuels to minimize the threat of fire spreading into those areas.

Rafters and boaters on the Middle Fork must check in at the Flying B ranch for updates. Some campsites may be off-limits as the fire shifts.

Those traveling on the river are warned to look out for falling rocks and trees, and be aware that smoky conditions can make it hard to see.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service