The 2500 acre Springs Fire, located at the junction of Highway 55 and Highway 17 is causing road issues.
Highway 55 is closed at Banks, 12 miles north from Horseshoe Bend. Access to McCall and points north is to take Highway 52 towards Emmett, New Plymouth, and Weiser. Then take Highway 95 north through Council, New Meadows and up to McCall. This is a paved two lane highway. It will take approximately 3 hours to reach McCall.
Highway 55 is closed due to heavy rock fall on the road in the fire area. Abundant rock fall is occurring on the highway due to the fire loosening those rocks. Idaho Department of Transportation is coordinating the traffic flow on the highway and it is unknown when it might re-open.
The fire has reached the highway just north of Banks.
On Highway 17 (Banks – Lowman Road) with access to Garden Valley, Crouch and Lowman is restricted to one lane with an escort by a pilot car from milepost 1.5 to 5.0.
Delays can amount to 30 minutes. Intermittent long delays (closures) can occur at any time due to the fire. For example, power lines fell on the road earlier and there was an hour delay, but then the road reopened. Also, snag trees may fall on the road which could cause a longer term delay. Alternate routes for local residents are suggested.
A new troublesome 300 acre spot fire broke out late Tuesday night on the south side of the South Fork Payette River about 2 miles east of Banks. Fire managers are working to move firefighters to that side of the river which has no road access and will require in-part rafting crews across the river.
There is no estimate of containment and the fire currently is 5 percent contained. Nearly 240 fire fighters are battling the blaze, with hand crews, engines, helicopters and air tankers. Very hot temperatures are anticipated to challenge firefighters.
Rafters on the South Fork Payette River will need to use caution traveling the river where the helicopters are dipping. The river is currently open, but with the new spot fire access will be evaluated today and it may be closed.