Update on wildfires across Idaho

STATESMAN STAFFJuly 24, 2013 

RIDGE FIRE

This lightning-caused fire in the Boise National Forest about 15 miles northeast of Lowman has consumed 4,615 acres, up 915 acres from Monday. Nearly 400 firefighters are battling the blaze, which has been burning for a week. Four additional crews were brought in Tuesday to attack the western flank. The fire has progressed on the northern flank into the area burned by the 2006 Red Mountain Fire, and on the eastern side into the 2011 Castro Fire area. It is only 14 percent contained and will not be fully contained anytime soon, officials said. The fire has spread through subalpine fir, Douglas fir and trees ravaged by beetle infestations the past several years.

LODGEPOLE FIRE

This fire of unknown origin has consumed 5,035 acres of lodgepole pine and Douglas fir and is burning 10 miles west of Challis. The blaze, which started Saturday, has crossed the confluence of Lodgepole Creek and Challis Creek and is advancing eastward. A community meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Challis Middle School auditorium, located at Main Street and Seventh Avenue. Aerial attacks will be used to support hand crews and engines on the ground to establish an anchor point. Several nearby campgrounds have been closed and visitors evacuated. Portions of several area roads, including Challis Creek Road and Sleeping Deer Road, are close, as are several trails.

SUMMIT FIRE

This lightning-caused fire was more than 90 percent contained Tuesday, up from 72 percent a day earlier. The blaze, which began a week ago 14 miles northeast of Idaho City, in Boise County, has burned 370 acres of subalpine fir, lodgepole pine and Douglas fir, according to the Idaho Department of Lands. Crews will work to secure the perimeter and continue mop-up operations. Firefighters, who numbered 246 on Tuesday, will begin to be deployed to other fires soon.

PINE CREEK FIRE

This human-caused fire is more than 90 percent contained and has burned 2,797 acres since it began July 15 in the Boise National Forest, 15 miles northeast of Boise. Crews, which numbered 396 firefighters on Tuesday, will continue to patrol for hot spots and rehabilitate the fire area. Pockets of vegetation will continue to smolder and produce minimal amounts of smoke over the next few days, officials said. Grimes Creek Road is open, while Warm Springs Road remains closed.

THUNDER CITY FIRE

This lightning-caused fire has burned 416 acres of timber northeast of the Stibnite Mining District, east of Yellow Pine. The fire, which began Friday and is burning in the Payette National Forest, is 10 percent contained. Firefighters have had success in building containment lines on the west and south sides of the fire and will work to reinforce those lines. A community meeting will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Yellow Pine Community Center.

PAPOOSE FIRE

This lightning-caused fire has burned through 7,771 acres of grass, brush and timber in rugged territory above the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Four trails in the Salmon-Challis National Forest remain closed. A high-pressure system over the fire area is expected to yield to isolated thunderstorms on Thursday. Eight firefighters from a South Dakota unit are stationed in the Big Creek area to assess opportunities to keep the fire from crossing the creek. Crews are removing ground fuels from campsites between Big Creek and Goat Creek. A helicopter dropped water to fight hot spots above the Salmon River. Smoke from the fire is drifting into the town of Salmon.

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