McCall, Idaho – No new fires have been reported over the past several days. The last two fire starts on the forest were human caused as a result of unattended campfires – one of which burned 3 acres and the other 1/10th of an acre. While the Forest is not under fire restrictions at this time, hunters and other recreationists are advised to properly maintain your campfires, never leave them unattended and ensure the campfire is 100% out before departing for home or other destinations.
Large fires are continuing to be managed on the Forest through post suppression clean-up, stabilization and burned area recovery efforts. Weather conditions continue to improve the likelihood that fire will not spread, however; the Payette National Forest has not yet received a significant amount of rain fall to have a “season ending” event. Firefighters remain prepared to respond to new fire starts.
For the Tepee Spring Fire, 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. The confinement strategy involved the construction of indirect fire lines designed to prevent the fire from escaping a designated area and growing larger. A combination of direct and indirect fire lines are constructed around 100% of the fire perimeter. Some isolated tree torching is occurring within the perimeter of the fire lines, and hot spots remain throughout the fire area. Helicopters remain assigned, and as necessary are used for bucket drops to cool hot spots. Helicopter work have been used in the West Fork of Lake Creek, and in Carey Creek drainages. Overall, fire activity continues to decrease due to cooler temperatures, higher relative humidity and the lowering of Haines Index weather related factors.
A new trail closure has been implemented due to the severe conditions of the trail which burned under high intensity during the fire. The Patrick Butte trail #153 is closed to all uses beginning at the intersection of the Lake Creek Trail #154 and Trail #153. The trail is closed for an approximate 7 miles stretch headed southerly to the intersection with trail #151. The closure has been implemented to provide for public safety and protection from hazards associated with the fire in the burnt area – a continuous growing number of fallen snags has made the trail impassible. The area surrounding the trail remains open, but is also experiencing the dangers of falling snags. Members of the public are advised to avoid the area.
The Lake Creek Road remains closed due to fire operations and hazards created by the fire. All other areas on the Payette and Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in the Tepee Springs Fire area are open to the public, but be aware that some trails in the fire area may not be good condition.
Regarding the Rapid Fire, the area closure has been lifted. This fire has not experienced any growth and remains under a patrol and monitor status and being managed by the local unit. Hot spots in the fire are located in the main Buckhorn Creek, Little Buckhorn Creek, South Fork of Buckhorn Creek, and the head of Cougar Creek drainages. Isolated tree torching is possible - the public is advised to use caution and good judgement if recreating in the area.
Be safe in the Woods! Just because the smoke clears, the emergency isn’t over….
Containment and confinement 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.