Cool, wet weather has halted the progress of several large fires burning in northern and central Idaho. Some areas in North Idaho have received up to three inches of rain and snow blanketed the higher parts of central Idaho. But the reprieve could be short-lived; the weather forecast for calls for warmer, drier conditions across the state this week.
In other fire news:
• The Boise Air Tanker Base last week reached a milestone of pumping more than 1 million gallons of retardant into air tankers.
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Over the past 10 years the base has averaged 821,500 gallons of retardant pumped, with the high being 1.6 million gallons in 1994, and the low being 95,000 gallons for the combined years 2008 and 2009.
Air tanker capacity ranges from 700 to 3,000 gallons. Crews can refill a single-engine air tanker in two minutes and a heavy air tanker in less than 10 minutes.
• The Bureau of Land Management has started work on a 50-foot-wide fuel break on the southern and eastern edges of Canyon Point, a Surprise Valley subdivision in southeast Boise. The project, aimed at reducing wildfire threat, includes goat grazing, followed by chemical treatment and planting of fire-resistant Prostrate Kochia. Crews also will thin brush near the New York Canal and Boise River.
1. Tepee Springs Fire: The fire gained just 48 acres on Monday. Along the Salmon River corridor, the fire runs from three miles east of Riggins to 3.5 miles east of French Creek. An 18-mile stretch of the Salmon River east of Riggins reopened to rafters and the Forest Service resumed raft launching from Corn Creek. Rafter takeout is at Shorts Bar near Riggins as Carey Creek and Vinegar Creek access is closed. The Salmon River Road remains closed due to continued firefighting activity and dangers due to falling and burning debris. The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest forest-wide closure was rescinded, although areas around active fires remain closed. 94,703 acres. 65 percent contained.
2. Rapid Fire Burning south of Nick Peak and east of the Rapid Creek drainage, approximately 12 miles southeast of McCall. Rehabilitation of the fireline on the south side of the fire is completed. Firefighters will continue working their way along the southeast side of the fire mopping up hotspots on the west side of Kennally Creek. 9,619 acres. 50 percent contained.
3. Campbells Fire:The fire burning in Fall, Trout, Moore and Ruff creeks areas in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness has shown very little growth with the cool wet weather. Firefighters are providing protection at Campbells Ferry, Chamberlain Guard Station, Lemhi, China and Gaines bars and Arctic Lodge on the Main Salmon River. Structure protection is in place at Chamberlain and Stonebraker Ranch if it is needed. 7,821 acres. No containment level reported.
4. Elevenmile Fire:The Custer Motorway remains impassable due to heavy downfall from burnt trees and windfall. Crews are working to clear the roadway, but it will take some time due to the amount of debris and trees that continue to burn. Mill Creek and Mosquito Flat campgrounds are closed. Bayhorse, Trealor Creek and Kinnikinic Creek roads are closed; Sleeping Deer Road is open. Warm Springs, East Mayfield-Yankee, Trapper Creek and Kerr Creek trails are closed. 10,387 acres. 48 percent contained.
5. Clearwater-Municipal Complex: Crews are nearing containment of the multiple fires. Fire restrictions on all lands in the Clearwater region,except IDFG management areas, will be lifted Wednesday. 82,243acres. 95 percent contained.
6. Selway Complex: The Magruder Corridor Road is currently impassable and will be intermittently closed due to work crews removing debris on the road. A pilot car is escorting drivers through the work area from Dixie Creek to Poet’s Creek. Expect significant delays. 83,337 acres. No containment level reported.