Grangeville Idaho August 13, 2014
Yesterday’s Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service warning firefighters of severe winds and thunderstorms was not underestimated. Winds began gusting in excess of 35 mphat 1:00pm causing the Johnson Bar fire to nearly double in size and spot across both the Selway and Clearwater rivers. Lightning across the forest yielded an excess of 1000 positive strikes. Minimal amounts of scattered rain was reported across the area with most managers recording less than a quarter of an inch.
Evacuations orders by the Idaho County Sheriff’s office affected numerous citizens and businesses.
The Selway River Corridor is experiencing a Stage 3 evacuations which means that there is an immediate threat to life and/or property and that people should leave the area immediately.
A Level 2 evacuation is in place for US Highway 12 extending five miles in each direction from the town of Lowell. Stage 2 means that there is an increasing potential threat that the fire will move into the area and threatened lives and property. Residents in Stage 2 should prepare to leave at a moments notice. Residents requiring extraordinary care should make plans to leave immediately. People who may need to relocate livestock should consider making early preparations to round up the livestock and be ready to leave quickly.
Highway 12 is open.
Associated with the Johnson Bar fire the Forest has implemented two closure orders. Closure orders can be found on the forest website athttp://www.fs.fed.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater
Forest road #223 from O’Hara Bridge to the river confluence of the Selway River and the Clearwater River and FS road #464 from Elk City to O’Hara Bridge are closed.
An area closure for the entire area affected by the Johnson Bar fire is in place.
Fire Fighters worked tirelessly until dark responding to multiple smoke chases. Reports began coming into Grangeville Interagency Dispatch again at dawn. Fire managers are assessing the amount of fire on the landscape and prioritizing fires for resource distribution.
There are no Fire Weather Warnings posted for today from the NWS. More thunderstorms are anticipated today but with a greater chance of wetting rain. Gusty winds and more lightning are also expected with these storms.
The up side of yesterday’s winds yielded a reprieve from the thick smoke conditions experienced by residences of Kooskia and the Highway 12 area. However as nightfall set in and the winds died down, the smoke began to settle right back in. Air quality will likely remain poor as thermal inversions dominate in the evenings and then improve with afternoon winds. The greater geographic area will experience diminished air quality as airflow cause smoke from both local and distant fires to move throughout the atmosphere.
· Johnson Bar fire: 5795 ac. The fire experienced ~2500 acres of growth yesterday nearly doubling in size. Type2 Incident Management Team (Leach) is managing the fire and will be providing updates to the media and on inciweb athttp://inciweb.nwcg.gov In spite of the trying fire behavior, no accidents or injuries have been reported to date.
· Rackliff Fire - 2.25 miles north east of Fenn Ranger Stationstaffed with 4 jumpers .1 acre.
· China Ridge Fire – 2 miles north of China Point staffed .25 acres burning in timber.
· Roar – 1.5 mile north west of Fenn RD – in the initial attack area for the Johnson Bar Fire, no information
· Bill fire: 10 ac. This fire has not grown and is stable at 10 acres and is considered 100% contained. The fire is located across from Shearer on the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness. Structure protection activities to the 1-year-old Bear Creek bridge have been successful. Crews were removed leaving three smoke jumpers left behind to patrol and mop-up.
The District is currently managing eleven fires for resource management objectives in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness.
Six new fires appeared from yesterday’s storm:
· Blue Fire (.10 acre), Rhett Fire(.10 acre) and Churchill Fire (.50 acre) are clustered in the vicinity of Churchill Mountain. Eight helicopter rappellers are assigned to the three fires.
· Mountain Fire, one mile west of Mountain Meadows on the Magruder Road Corridor, contained at .10 acre, four fire fighters assigned
· Slaughter Fire, in the Gospel Hump Wilderness four miles west of the Concord Mine, being managed for natural resource objectives
· Jackknife Fire, one mile east of the Red Mailbox on Jack Creek Summit, seven fire fighters and a type 6 engine a line around it, with a hose lay into the fire.
Remaining fires on the district:
· Ditch Fire, two miles north of Ditch Creek Campground; .75 acre; 21 fire fighters and two type 4 engines are cold lining and mopping up the fire
· Myers Fire, three miles east of the Mallard Creek Ranch; being managed with the Rain Fire;currently 1,992 acres; most of the increase in acreage was to the west and northwest, with some on the northeast portion of the fire; 47 fire fighters working on structure protection at Mallard Creek Ranch and Cook Ranch. The Ranches remain under a Stage One Evacuation Notice, meaning that they have been made aware of the fire and protection activity in their areas.
A type 3 incident management team has been brought in to aid the district with the logistics of all the moving parts assigned to the Rainand Myers Fires. The team is based at the Red River Administrative Site, working to feed and supply the fire fighters with equipment needs, etc.
· Rain Fire, south of Crow Point; 3,593 acres; structure protection completed at Allison Ranch; 14 fire fighters assigned; ready to do structure protection at Yellowpine Bar and Whitewater Ranch, if needed. A wide closure of trails in the vicinity of the fire is in place, but does not include the river or the river trail. For a copy of the order and map of the area, please seehttp://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices. Hikers and boaters are urged to use great caution when in the fire area, watching for falling and rolling trees and debris. Allison Ranch, Whitewater Ranch, and Yellowpine Bar also remain under a Stage One Evacuation Notice.
· Prong Fire, 3.5 miles north of Green Mountain, 150 to 200 acres with 4 fire fighters assigned to structure protection for Green Mountain Lookout and trailheads and campsites in the vicinity.
· Prospector Fire (formerly reported as “Prospect Fire”), five miles SW of Poet Creek Campground in the Bargamin Creek drainage; 71 acres, managed for natural resource objectives.
· Wildhorse Fire and Rocky Fire(near Wildhorse Campground), .25 acre each; in patrol status.
The District has 16 fire fighters and six engines available for initial attack Wednesday with 137 assigned to fires. Air support is available as needed, visibility and weather allowing.
· Two new fires started yesterday on the District. The Trail fire located near Wallow mountain is a tenth of an acre in size and fire fighters are responding. TheGrizzly fire is near Mush Saddle area. It is approximately 1/3 acre in size and fire fighters are responding
· Bruin Fire: 150+ ac. The fire continues to burn actively. It is located near Bruin Hill about eight miles northeast of the old Kelly Creek Ranger Station (the junction of roads 225 and 581) on the North Fork Ranger District. The fire is being managed for resource objectives.
· `A trail closure of the Bruin Hill trail is in place. A full description and map can be found on the forest website athttp://www.fs.fed.usda.gov/nezperceclearwater
· Round Fire - .75 acres north of Round Knob it is staffed. It is controlled.
· North Butte fire is 1 acre 2 miles north of Black Butte Lookout. It is contained.
· Grouse Creek fire has been declared out. It is in Florence above the Grangeville Salmon road.
· No new fires reported yesterday.
· The District continues to manage six fires in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness to meet resource objectives.
· Rocky Ridge fire–2.25 mile southwest of Weitas Butte not staffed yet
· The Macaroni fire across the river at mile marker 116 on Hwy 12 was more active yesterday with fire smoldering, and creeping. It was producing light to moderate smoke. Two firefighters worked the fire yesterday.