[Update] Pioneer Fire has burned nearly 260 square miles

The Pioneer Fire, now at an estimated 257 square miles or 164,895 acres, has been burning since July 18 near Idaho City and Lowman, fire managers said via Inciweb Thursday afternoon.

The estimated containment dropped Thursday to 52 percent, and the estimate for full containment has been pushed back until mid-October.

The fire’s continued growth has prompted officials to expand the area closure to maximize public and firefighter safety and minimize the chances of being trapped by fast-moving wildfire. Fire officials advise that the public not camp in any areas north of Forest Service Road 579 between FS Road 555 junction and Elk Creek Guard Station.

More than 1,000 people are fighting the fire using nine helicopters, 44 engines, four bulldozers, 24 water tenders and three masticators. The fire is at 52 percent containment as of Thursday afternoon, according to fire managers,.

The fire flared up after the inversion lifted, and it burned through the Deadwood River, Deadwood Ridge and Bear Valley areas over the past few days, fire managers reported.

A Level 2 evacuation order remains in effect for residents in the Long Creek area along Bear Valley Road. A Level 2 evacuation is a voluntary evacuation. A Level 1 evacuation order is in effect for residents in Pioneerville, Lowman, along the South Fork Road, east of Grimes Creek and near the South Fork of the Payette River. A Level 1 order is a precautionary measure to get residents to prepare for mandatory and voluntary evacuations, according to fire managers.

Fire managers also reminded recreationists that a temporary flight restriction is in effect for the fire area. Private and commercial aircrafts can’t fly over the area. Drones also can’t fly in the area, and if they do, firefighting air operations will be grounded, according to fire managers.

Erin Fenner: 208-377-6207, @erinfenner