Through cooperative agreements between federal and local firefighting agencies, Forest Service aerial assets assisted the Donnelly Rural Fire Department and the Southern Idaho Timber Protection Association in suppressing the Wildwood fire yesterday. Two Type 1 helicopters, a single engine airtanker and an air attack platform assisted. The fire was a result of an escaped pile burn on private lands.
The Payette National Forest has not yet received a significant amount of rain fall to have a “season ending” event. While fuels are drying, we don’t expect new wildfire starts to grow into larger fires. Firefighters remain prepared to respond to new fire starts.
For the Tepee Spring Fire, management of the fire has reverted back to the local units with the Payette and the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests both assigning an Incident Commander to their perspective lands. No local Type 3 teams are assigned. The fire is in patrol and monitor status at 100% containment of the area that was to be contained – the remaining 9% of the fire area is under a confinement strategy and is being monitored. Some isolated tree torching is possible, and hot spots remain throughout the interior of the fire perimeter. Two helicopters remain assigned and local ground base firefighters will use these aerial assets to knock down any hot spots that may pose a problem.
The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest has lifted their area closure of the north side of the river effective today. The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office has opened the main Salmon River Road to the public. The Payette lifted its area closure last week. French Creek Road is expected to open today. Lake Creek Road will remain closed due to fire operations in that area.
The fire camp west of New Meadows is closing today, as well as the helibase north of New Meadows. Daily “Fire Updates” will no longer be done for the Tepee Springs Fire. The Forest will release a “forest wide” update in the evenings, every other day beginning tonight.
Regarding the Rapid Fire, the area closure has been lifted. This fire is still under patrol and monitor status and being managed by the local unit. Isolated tree torching is possible and hot spots can still be found on the South Fork of the Salmon River drainage side of the fire - the public is advised to use caution and good judgement if recreating in the area.
Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER): The Tepee Springs BAER team met with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and representatives of Idaho County within the burned area to discuss and visit areas of concern. The group visited sites along the Main Salmon River corridor where potential hazards exist and potential treatments will be implemented.
The BAER team has completed all of their field assessments and is currently working on their analysis and final report. The team expects to present their final report and recommendations later this week. The recommendations for treatments on National Forest Lands will address hazards on the Nez Perce-Clearwater and Payette National Forests. The Bureau of Land Management, Cottonwood District will use the BAER Team analysis to submit their own report and recommendation for treatments the following week.
For Private Land Owners: A meeting for private landowners is being organized by the University of Idaho Extension Office and Idaho County for October 8. 2015 at the Riggins Community Center from9-11 a.m. This multi-agency meeting will share post fire effects with land owners, and talk about potential avenues of assistance that are available through the NRCS and Idaho County. For additional information contact University of Idaho Extension Office – Clearwater County located at 2200 Michigan Ave, Orofino, ID or by calling 208-476-4434, or visit their website at: http://www.uidaho.edu/extension
For more information on the Idaho NRCS, visit their website at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov
With roads open in the fire area, please remember to watch for rolling rocks and hazard trees.
Be safe in the Woods! Just because the smoke clears, the emergency isn’t over….
While the burned areas have been opened to the public, the burned areas and those riparian areas can be hazardous! Thunderstorms, long duration storms, and rain-on-snow events can produce debris flows which may occur throughout the burned areas and downstream of these areas.
- These debris flows are dangerous for anyone caught in their path.
- Snags and woody debris can clog culverts and bridges which may wash out those structures.
- Floating and submerged logs may pose extreme hazards to boaters, rafters, swimmers, and waders in the Main Salmon River.
- Containment of a fire means the fire is not likely to spread, but it does not mean the fire is out. Fire is not considered controlled until there is no visible smoke or flame.
- There will be extreme heat within some areas of heavy fuel.
- There will be small smoke columns, primarily in the afternoon, visible from the surrounding roads and communities.
- Trees may fall at any time, but are especially susceptible to failure during high wind and/or heavy rain or snow.
- There will be more hazard trees in future years as more damaged trees die.
- Blowing dust can be expected to impact communities located to the east of the burned area due to the direction of the prevailing wind.
- Most dust storms are short-lived.
- Persons with asthma or allergies may experience difficulty during periods of high wind.
- Dust devils will be common and may be confused with smoke columns.