The Clearwater Complex includes dozens of the fires sparked by lightning since Monday, among them the Lawyer Fires near Kamiah, the Fisher Fire north of Craigmont and the Lolo Creek Fires southeast of Weippe.
Two Type 2 teams will manage branches of the complex.
Lightning strikes were reported on the Forest again this afternoon and evening, along with new starts.
An area closure for the Forest’s Lochsa District went into effect this afternoon to include the Woodrat and Big Hill Fires near Syringa and the Fourbit Fires south of Mex Mountain, where a cluster of fires is growing into a single large fire.
At least 30 wildfires are still burning within the Lochsa closure, rendering the area unsafe for the public. Two Lochsa lookouts have been evacuated -- Pilot Knob yesterday and Walde this evening. Crews have covered the Pilot Knob tower with fire-resistant wrap. Scouted from the air, the Fourbit Fires were judged to be between 200 and 300 acres. Woodrat has grown to at least 60 acres and firefighters have managed to hold Big Hill to 15 acres. The Baldy Fire near Pilot Knob burned actively today. The Army Mule Fire, a new fire burning on all flanks in the Army Mule Saddle of the Moose Creek Ranger District, was sized at 52 acres.
Tomorrow will be a critical fire day. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the Forest and surrounding areas from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. for gusty winds, thunderstorms and low humidity. A Red Flag warning indicates that conditions are ideal for ignition and rapid spread of wildfires. The forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms beginning in the morning, with more severe storms in the afternoon.
Ridgetop winds could gust to 35 mph, while erratic outflow winds from the storms could reach 45 mph. The strongest winds are expected at mid-day as a cold front pushes into the area.
Fire managers ask rafters to leave areas where fire helicopters are dipping from rivers. The helicopters require space to operate safely. Your presence could be lengthening their turn-around times and hindering fire-suppression efforts.