Idaho wildfires update: More Beaver Creek closures expected to be lifted by weekend

Statesman staff and wire reportsAugust 29, 2013 

AIR QUALITY

On Wednesday, for the second day in a row, visibility was 10 miles or more all day at the Boise Airport.

The state Department of Environmental quality again issued a green, or good, air quality forecast for Thursday in the Treasure Valley.

BEAVER CREEK FIRE

In addition to previously announced reopenings as containment nears on the lightning-caused Beaver Creek Fire near Hailey and Ketchum, the Ketchum Ranger district is expected to open additional access to summer homes, campgrounds and trails by the Labor Day weekend.

Stay updated on the latest openings.

A Burned Area Emergency Response Team is expected to arrive this weekend. Part of its focus will be to minimize soil erosion and protect water quality of streams and rivers within the burned area.

The fire has burned 111,488 acres and was 94 percent contained Thursday, with containment expected by Saturday.

LITTLE QUEENS FIRE

Crews were securing and mopping up control lines on the south flank of the Little Queens Fire near Atlanta. Structure protection measures in and around the community, such as hoses and pumps, were being removed.

The fire was at 23,324 acres and 20 percent contained, with containment still set for Oct. 30.

The cause remained under investigation.

KELLEY FIRE

The size of the lightning-caused Kelley Fire about 7 miles southeast of Featherville increased from 300 acres on Wednesday to 565 acres on Thursday. It was still 5 percent contained, with no estimated containment date.

The Great Basin Incident Management Team 6, with Incident Commander Tracy Dunford, was set to take over command of the fire Friday morning. The team's command post will be at Chapparal Campground.

ELK COMPLEX

The lightning-caused Elk Complex remained 95 percent contained Wednesday, and fire managers expect full containment Saturday. It has burned 131,000 acres.

NEW FIRES

Firefighters were responding to two fast-moving wildfires in the Payette National Forest that are likely holdover fires sparked by lightning in the past few days.

The Hells Canyon 1 Fire and the Raft Fire are about 10 miles west of the Mann Creek Guard Station on the Weiser Ranger District, and within the Snake River corridor.

The 1,000-acre Raft Fire was spreading quickly and was threatening private structures in Sturgill Creek.

The Hells Canyon 1 Fire was up to more than 2,500 acres, reached Sumac Creek and was threatening private structures in the area.

CALIFORNIA'S RIM FIRE

The huge Sierra Nevada wildfire and its smoke plume have caused some fearful tourists to opt out of plans for the last big travel weekend of the summer, but most appear intent to go through with vacations to destinations such as Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe.

Those who keep their hard-to-get Labor Day lodging reservations in Yosemite will enjoy a pleasant surprise: stunning views of the towering granite icons Half Dome and El Capitan with less of the usual holiday congestion.

The park has seen some reservation cancellations and some nearby mountain communities have had a serious drop-off in business due to the 301-square-mile Rim Fire, which was 30 percent contained Thursday. More than 20,000 acres of the fire are along the northern edge of the 750,000-acre national park.

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