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Update: Containment holds at 58% as Pioneer Fire grows

By Nicole Blanchard

nblanchard@idahostatesman.com

Though the Pioneer Fire burning near Lowman and Idaho City continues to grow – reaching over 109,000 acres Sunday – a Boise National Forest Press release said containment has remained at 58 percent from Saturday, the highest thus far in the fight against the massive blaze.

A recent cooling trend has helped crews, allowing them to complete difficult sections of fire lines along the Black Bear, Rae and Dodge drainages near the South Fork Payette River and Highway 17. On Saturday evening, workers were able to burn a section of line near Long Creek and Clear Creek to prevent the fire from moving south.

Still, officials said, the fire remains active, with potential spotting still a concern. According to the release, fire managers expect the fire to grow in the next three days as weather again heats up, humidity falls and winds gust up to 15 mph.

Resources in the Lowman area and along Highway 21 have been reassigned as the threat to the area lessens, though officials said previous evacuation levels remain in place: a level 2 evacuation for Long Creek area homes along Forest Road 582; a level 1 evacuation for Pioneerville and Lowman; and a level 1 order for homes in the South Fork Road area.

The Rough Fire, which is burning 14 miles norhteast of Lowman, is now about 4,100 acres and 40 percent contained. Officials are still expecting full containment by Sept. 15.

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