Fires

Pioneer Fire grows, voluntary evacuations order in effect

About 20 families in the Lowman area were encouraged to evacuate Tuesday as the fire continued to grow.
About 20 families in the Lowman area were encouraged to evacuate Tuesday as the fire continued to grow.

Voluntary evacuation orders are still in effect in certain Lowman communities as the Pioneer Fire continues to grow, according to fire managers via Inciweb.

The fire grew to an estimated 80,370 acres by Wednesday morning. Inversion from the smoke had made firefighting an easier task for crews, but when it lifted fire activity increased and the northern section of the fire picked up and burned toward Clear Creek which is less than a mile from Lowman, according to fire managers.

The U.S. Forest service posted this video of crews clearing a large tree that had fallen across Idaho 17. According to the Facebook post, the tree fell without warning.

Up to 20 families in the area were asked to leave their homes Tuesday. The Level 2 evacuation was ordered for families living on Bear Valley and Lowman Home roads, Hall and North Shore drives, as well as the area near Milepost 31 on the Banks-Lowman Road approaching the junction with Idaho Highway 21. Residents are not mandated to leave under a Level 2 evacuation order, according to fire managers.

Gov. Butch Otter is expected to be in the Lowman area Wednesday to get briefed on fire management efforts, said Boise National Forest fire information officer Jerry Rohnert.

Containment is holding at about 50 percent and crews are focused on protecting the Lowman community as firefighters beef up structure protection. Firefighters are strengthening containment lines along the north flank of the blaze.

About 1,850 people are working on the fire using 14 helicopters, 2 scooper planes, 79 engines, 10 bulldozers, 35 water tenders and eight masticators, fire managers said.

Highway 21 is open, but motorists are asked to drive with caution and use their lights. Highway 17 is still closed from Lowman to the Daskin boat ramp.

The Rough Fire, burning about 14 miles northeast of Lowman, is an estimated 2,562 acres and 20 percent contained as of Wednesday morning. Nearly 130 people are working on the fire using one helicopter and three engines, according to fire managers via Inciweb.

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