Approximately 25,000 Acres, including: Woodrat ~2,806 acres Slide ~2,400 acres Wash ~7,050 Other Motorway area fires ~12,000 acres Date Started: 08/14/2015
Percent Containment: 5%
Woodrat, Other fires in the Complex are at 0% containment
Personnel: Approximately 241 personnel that includes two, Type 2 Initial Attack hand crews, various support personnel.
Equipment: 3 heavy equipment modules, 18 engines, 6 water tenders, 7 Dozers
Aircraft Assigned: Shared resources
Cooperating Agencies: US Forest Service; Clearwater and Idaho counties; Clearwater Potlatch Timber Protective Association; Nez Perce Tribe; Idaho State Police, Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho County Light & Power Company
The Motorway Complex is comprised of several fires on the Lochsa-Powell, North Fork, and Moose Creek Ranger Districts including Woodrat, Big Hill, Wash, Slide, and a group of fires located near the Lolo Motorway. The Woodrat fire has also burned onto lands managed by the Maggie Creek Protection District.
The Motorway Complex, like many other fires in the area, is the result of recent lightning storms. Rick Kusicko’s North Idaho Incident Management Team (IMT) assumed command of the complex Thursday, August 20. The Motorway Complex, Incident Command Post (ICP) is established at the Kooskia airstrip.
To aid the general public with the large amount of fire information, Fire Information officers from all teams within the Kamiah and Kooskia areas will be coordinating the dissemination of information. Within the Motorway Complex, the Woodrat, Slide, and Wash fires will be listed individually. The fires located near the Lolo Motorway, approximately 7 miles east of Pierce and Weippe, will be identified as the Motorway fires.
Woodrat - The Woodrat fire is actively burning in steep, rugged terrain approximately 1 mile north and west of the Syringa community. Local crews have made good headway along the northern flank of the fire. Although winds were not as gusty as predicted, fire behavior became extreme in the afternoon and evening, producing spot fires in several areas, including across the Swan Creek Road and some dozer line along the fire’s southwest fire perimeter. Firefighters worked to keep those spot fires contained, with help from heavy helicopters. By late in the day, a spot fire became established on a ridgeline between Little Smith and Smith Creek drainages, and helicopter support helped to slow spread. Saturday, crews will continue structure protection along Smith Creek Road and the Syringa area, and hot shot crews will continue burnout operations above Smith Creek Road to try to herd the fire north away from Syringa. Heavy and medium helicopters were used yesterday to support efforts in the Syringa area. Due to Friday’s fire movement, the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office issued additional evacuation alerts, warnings, and orders. See evacuation notes in this fact sheet and on the Woodrat Fire Inciweb page for more details.
Slide – The Slide Fire is burning in open pine and Douglas fir stands on steep south facing slopes above the Selway River. The fire is a potential threat to homes, private holdings, and the Historic Fenn Ranger Station to the east, so residents should be aware evacuation status may change as the fire spreads. Fire spread has not been significant in the last 48 hours and is primarily moving up-river. While fire spread has not been significant recently, continued terrain-driven winds may continue pushing the fire both west and east along the southern face. Thus far, shrub fields and rocky slopes to the north have helped check further northerly progression; however, the potential remains for the shrub fields to further cure out, which could allow fire spread. Yesterday, crews continued performing structure protection along the Selway road from CCC trail down river to the Fenn Ranger Station, as well as at the Selway Cabin. In addition, fire personnel also began to evaluate the wooden bridges along the Selway River that have the potential to be impacted by advancing fire. Dozers constructed indirect line along the western side of the fire, improving existing fireline, to try to prevevnt westerly Fire Update Motorway Complex spread. However, hand crews will be necessary in order to tie that line down to the Selway River.
Wash – The Wash fire is actively burning 8 miles east of Lowell, Idaho and approximately 5 miles east of the homes located south of the Selway River, just south and east of the Slide fire. The fire is threatening grazing allotments and could be a potential threat to other areas to the south and west. Fire activity is being assessed to notify permittees and identify structures for protection. The Selway River Road #223 is closed from O'Hara Bridge, at the junction of O'Hara Road #651, to the junction of Falls Point Road #443. Ten trails that access the closed segment of Road 223 are also closed: Trails #702; 703; 704; 705; 707; 708; 709; 710; 725 and 734. The above restrictions are necessary for public safety due to wildfire activity. The fire is currently estimated at 7,050 acres, burning in heavy fir and cedar along the north facing slopes of the Selway River and dense, upper ridgeline forests (of spruce and lodgepole pine). Dense contiguous fuels have limited fire manager’s opportunities to check southerly spread. Fire behavior has been erratic and the fire has grown rapidly up slope and up canyon. A Type 1 Incident Management Team will assume command of the Wash fire Sunday.
Motorway – The Motorway fires are located in the area referred to as the Lolo Motorway and include Lost Hat, 535, and Musselshell Creek fires, as well as numerous, smaller or more remote fires further east and south. Some of these fires are impacting local grazing allotments and have the potential to affect the communities of Pierce and Weippe. Currently crews are assessing and opening roads to access the fire perimeter and construct line. On the Musselshell Creek fire, an anchor point has been established along the 535 road and constructed approximately two miles of dozer line. Structures currently threatened by the Motorway fires are Forest Service facilities and infrastructure. Structure protection assessments and actions are currently underway in those areas, and crews structure-wrapped the Hemlock Lookout.
Evacuations: Level III evacuation orders are in place for Syringa and Smith Creek Road areas; Level II evacuation warnings were issued for the area east of Syringa up to the western edge of Lowell; Level I evacuation alerts were issued for Lowell and the area east, up the Lochsa River to the Pete King Road. Suttler Creek road remains at Level II evacuation status and residents should remain alert to rapidly changing conditions. See the Inciweb, “Woodrat Fire” page for descriptions of Evacuation Levels and their implications for residents.
Road Closures & Special Announcements: Significant Forest area closures are in affect and additional closures in the Selway River may be forthcoming due to wildfire activity. Closures can be located at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices. Please check back regularly as conditions and closures change frequently.
For more info: Please contact the fire information line, at 208-926-4170 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions concerning the complex. As always, check fire information and updates on http://inciweb.nwcg.gov. Once on the specific fire in the incident, you can choose to follow the fire updates via Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets.