Crews 'making good progress' on Elk Complex wildfires

August 16, 2013 

— The Elk Complex expanded overnight, leaping from almost 117,000 acres Thursday night to 125,033 acres Friday morning. That held steady into the evening.

Still, Fire Information Officer Kathy Arnoldus said crews were making headway.

“We’ve added some containment up around the southeast corner of the fire and a little bit in the southwest-to-west area of the fire,” she said.

The fires were 50 percent contained Friday night. At least three hotshot crews worked Friday to establish a fireline along the northwest edge of the blaze.

“Overall, things are looking good, we’re making good progress,” Arnoldus said.

But firefighters are careful not to relax too much, she said. The hot, dry, windy weather Friday threatened to cause the flames to spread quickly.

“It’s kind of a stay alert, be prepared, don’t get complacent weather day,” Arnoldus said.

A total of 81 structures have burned, including 38 homes in the Fall Creek area. Officials have said those houses were all lost to fast-moving flames within the first 48 hours of the fire.

There has been no new home loss, Arnoldus said.

The northern flank of the fire has moved into an area that was previously burned in the Trinity Fire, reducing the amount of fuels available.

“That’s a good fire-break for it, moving up into that old burn,” Arnoldus said. “It’s not really advancing at this point.”

The Elk Complex is currently the number one priority fire in the U.S., due to its size and proximity to homes.

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