Beaver Creek, Elk fires contained

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning through Tuesday.

cmsewell@idahostatesman.comSeptember 3, 2013 

The good news: Over the weekend, crews gained full containment of the Beaver Creek Fire west of Ketchum and the Elk Complex Fire southwest of Pine.

More good news: Heavy rain is en route to the hot, dry Gem State, which could help extinguish the more than one dozen fires burning across the state.

Now, the bad news: Fire and forest officials are concerned about flash floods and mudslides in burned-out areas. The National Weather Service’s flash flood warning is effective for the Central Idaho mountains, southern Idaho border and eastern Oregon.

The loss of vegetation on hillsides and soil scorched and hardened by fire increase the chance of flash floods or mudslides. Also, with the loss of vegetation and trees, rocks and downed trees are more likely to tumble down steep embankments.

Fire and forest officials advise travelers on roads in these areas to be alert for a rapid increase in water flows, especially in small creeks or rivers in areas immediately adjacent to the burned mountains, which could lead to a flash flood.

Road culverts also have an increased chance of plugging due to the high flows and could wash out road surfaces quickly in that case.

Here's an update on the major fires burning in Central Idaho:

- Beaver Creek: The 111,490-acre fire west of Hailey and Ketchum reached full containment on Saturday.

- Elk Complex: The 131,258-acre fire 10 miles southwest of Pine was contained on Saturday. All county roads are open within the Pine-Featherville area, although Forest Service roads within the area remain closed.

- Kelley: Burning 7 miles southeast of Featherville, the active 14,761-acre fire is 10 percent contained. A public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the American Legion Hall in Fairfield.

- Little Queens: The 25,338-acre fire north of Atlanta is 20 percent contained. The fire’s spread south toward Atlanta has been stopped.

- The Weiser Complex, about 20 miles northwest of Midvale along the Snake River, includes the Hells Canyon Fire: 9,062 acres and 90 percent contained; and the Raft Fire: 16,137 acres and 20 percent contained. Four Payette National Forest campgrounds are closed: Spring Creek, Kawanis, Justrite and Paradise.

Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428, Twitter: @CynthiaSewell

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