Don’t expect weekend storms to douse Pioneer Fire

The massive, long-running Pioneer Fire near Lowman is on the decline but expected to continue burning in the high country for about a month, a Boise National Forest spokeswoman said Friday.

The perimeter of the 188,000 acre fire is now 85 percent contained, but the estimate for full containment, which had long been slated for this Saturday, has been pushed back a month to Nov. 15.

"The snow is what's really going to do it," Venetia Gempler said, noting that this weekend’s rain is not expected to have a significant impact on containment.

The Great Basin fire management team that used hundreds of firefighters — more than 1,800 at the fire’s peak — to battle the blaze pulled out the first week of October, handing management of the fire to the Boise National Forest. No outside resources are currently being used, Gempler said, but forest service employees are working to repair suppression lines to help restore the forest and reduce the risk of flash flooding.

The Pioneer Fire has burned more than 294 square miles of forest since it started July 18.