Fires

IDAHO FIRES: Traveling for Labor Day? How to check for closures, other challenges

Hunting, camping, rafting and other textbook Idaho activities have been affected by the wildfires that continue to burn in parts of the state.

Check the online resources attached to this article for the latest information before you head out for Labor Day weekend.

Perhaps the largest closure area as of Wednesday remained due to two active fires: the Clearwater-Municipal-Motorway North Complex and the Tepee Springs Fire. All of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest aside from the Palouse Ranger District was closed Aug. 30, in part because fire managers said their resources were mainly focused on protecting area towns and other private property. Follow this link for a map of the national forest and its districts.

In the Tepee Springs Fire area, a nearly 18-mile stretch of the Salmon River near Riggins has reopened after being closed since Aug. 27. Effective at 6 a.m. Thursday, rafters can float through the fire area and take out at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Shorts Bar recreation site just east of Riggins. Rafters may need to plan an extra day for their trip as a result, officials said Wednesday evening. Rafters will also be able to resume launching at the Forest Service-managed Corn Creek Check Station.

A river guard will be posted at Shepp Ranch on the Main Salmon River to provide updated information on Tepee Springs Fire activity. All rafters are required to stop at Shepp Ranch for a safety briefing prior to continuing down river.

The main Salmon River Road will remain closed by the Idaho County Sheriff for firefighter operations and associated dangers related to the fire along the roadway. This closure includes the normal take-out locations, Carey Creek and Vinegar Creek.

In addition, the Spring Bar Recreation site is closed as a result of the fire. River users are not permitted to stop and use the restroom facilities, as the site is not safe for public entry.

The Tepee Springs Fire has also closed part of the Payette National Forest, including the Hazard, Grouse and Last Chance campgrounds. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has closed land east of U.S. 95 between Riggins and the Smokey Boulder Road north of New Meadows, as well as land south of the Salmon River Road and east of Riggins.

Closures in the region are affecting some hunting units. You can look up specifics using Idaho Fish and Game’s online mapping tool.

Several smaller fires also have prompted various closures. Follow these links to view maps for the Campbells Fire, Rapid Fire and Cougar Fire.

The Soda Fire that burned through Owyhee County is long extinguished, but the BLM is still posting warning signs in areas where the fire created safety concerns. A notice posted online by fire managers still encourages the public to avoid the burned area while a rehabilitation team assesses the damage.

For more details about other parts of Idaho, see the list of online resources attached to this article.

FIRE ACTIVITY

Tepee Springs Fire: An 18-mile stretch of the Salmon River east of Riggins reopens to rafters Thursday morning. All Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest land is closed along with portions of the Payette National Forest in the fire’s vicinity. The weather forecast calls for a chance of much-needed rain Thursday morning. 93,102 acres. 30 percent contained.

Rapid Fire: The fire has spread into the Buckhorn Mountain Lake and Buckhorn Creek drainage areas. Several forest roads and trails are closed. 9,303 acres. 40 percent contained.

Campbells Fire: Burning in Trout Creek, Moore Creek, Ruff Creek and Fall Creek in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, the fire now includes Burnt Knob and is advancing into upper Trout Creek and onto Highline Ridge. Firefighters are providing protection at Campbells Ferry, Lemhi, China and Gaines bars. Structure protection is in place at Chamberlain and Stonebraker Ranch if it is needed. 7,821 acres. No containment.

Elevenmile Fire: Firefighters are using aircraft to keep the fire from progressing down Squaw Creek and northeast toward Summit rock — steep areas with dense timber and abundant beetle-killed trees. The bulk of the fire’s growth has been up the Tenmile, Twelvemile and Yankee Fork drainages. 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. 10,004 acres. 15 percent contained.

Clearwater-Municipal-Motorway North: This complex comprises 13 fires now. All Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest lands, trails, trailheads, roads and campgrounds are closed except those within the Palouse Ranger District. 83,243 acres. 75 percent contained.

Selway Complex: Due to decreased fire behavior, the evacuation order has been downgraded to Level 1 (stay alert) for Elk City, Newsome and along Red River Road from Gold Point to Red River Hot Springs. The Mallard and Cook ranches remain under a Level 3 evacuation, which means leave immediately. The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest closure affects the Selway fires, too. 76,550 acres. No containment.

AFFECTED BY NORTH IDAHO FIRES?

Idaho Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (IDAVOAD) is creating an Unmet Needs Committee to help Idahoans recover from wildfires. The committee will include representatives of faith-based, nonprofit, governmental, business and other organizations.

To contact IDAVOAD, email info@idavoad.org.

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