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Cool weekend weather boosts Pioneer Fire containment

By Nicole Blanchard

nblanchard@idahostatesman.com

More than 1,000 people are working to contain the Pioneer Fire, burning near Lowman and Idaho City.
More than 1,000 people are working to contain the Pioneer Fire, burning near Lowman and Idaho City.

The 180,000-acre fire's containment bumped back up to 55 percent Saturday thanks to cooler weather, higher humidity and a touch of precipitation, Boise National Forest officials said in a press release.

Unfortunately, officials don't expect the weather to lead to long-term improvements in the fight against the blaze, which has been burning near Idaho City and Lowman since mid-July.

Fire managers said their focus is now on the western flank of the fire, which has heavier fuels. To the east, crews plan to secure a line east of Archie Mountain. Growth at the fire's head is expected to slow as it reaches old burn scars in the Bruce Meadows area.

Smoke is expected to be a continuing issue for Garden Valley, Lowman and Stanley areas. Daily updates on air quality and smoke outlook can be found here.

Closures are still in effect for several roadways and recreation areas in the Boise National Forest, officials say, and standing evacuation orders in the Pioneerville, Lowman and nearby areas are still in place. More information can be found here.

Fire managers also said the Rough Fire, once burning 14 miles from Lowman, has reached the Pioneer Fire's perimeter. Crews from that blaze are now being reassigned. At last count, it had burned over 4,000 acres and was 40 percent contained.

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