Size: 30,974 acres
Date Started: 08/14/2015
Containment: 2 percent
Personnel: 373, including two Type 1 crews and two Type 2 Initial Attack crews.
Equipment: 30 engines, 8 water tenders, 6 dozers, 2 skidgens
Aircraft Assigned: 2 helicopters
Cooperating Agencies: U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Lands, Clearwater and Idaho counties, Clearwater Potlatch Timber Protective Association, Nez Perce Tribe, Idaho State Police, Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho County Light & Power
Dense, thick smoke remained in place over the Motorway Complex Wednesday, reducing fire behavior for the fourth consecutive day and stalling all air operations. Relief from smoke conditions for the public is expected early weekend with the arrival of a series of weather systems from the Gulf of Alaska. In the meantime, smoke continues to cause unhealthy to hazardous air quality conditions.
The Motorway Complex on the Lochsa-Powell, Moose Creek and North Fork Ranger Districts contains more than 30 fires and remains a top priority in the Northern Rockies. The Complex includes the Woodrat, Slide, Big Hill fires and several fires near the Lolo Motorway. Rick Kusicko’s North Idaho Type 2 Incident Management Team assumed command of the complex on August 20. The Incident Command Post is at the Kooskia airstrip. Greg Poncin’s Northern Rockies Incident Management Type 1 Team will be transitioning with Rick Kusicko’s team and will begin managing the Woodrat, Slide, Big Hill, and Higgins Hump fires at 6:00 a.m. Friday. Mike Wilkins’ Southern Area Blue Team will begin managing fires further north along the Lolo Motorway also on Friday at 6:00 a.m.
Woodrat Fire – The fire slopped over a dozer line along 07 Ridge, compromising containment lines. Firefighters are working to gain control and tie it back into the main body of the fire. However, while crews worked on that, a spot fire was observed about ½-mile below crews. Because of the amount of fire activity in the area, the lack of visibility due to smoke, and the potential for more undetected spot fires above Highway 12, fire managers requested that the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office issue a Level 3 evacuation order for residents on Suttler Creek Road and residents along Highway 12 East of Suttler Creek Road, up to and including Syringa. By end of shift, the ½- acre spot fire was also contained but is not yet secure. Today, crews will continue burnout operations on the west and east sides of the fire to help secure containment lines. Firing operations will continue occur along Smith Creek Road, from Smith Creek saddle up to Pete King Creek. Firefighters will also continue to improve existing fuel breaks and dozer lines along the fire’s southern perimeter and will work on mop-up of the spot fire and slop-over.
Slide Fire – The Level 3 Evacuation Order remained in place downstream of the Slide Fire, from the O’Hara Bridge area downstream to and including the Fenn Ranger Station administrative site. Lowell and the area northeast of Lowell along Highway 12, upriver along the Lochsa River to Pete King Road remain in a Level 2 Evacuation Warning. The fire continues to spread downstream in a thermal belt, necessitating slow, methodical burnout operations and structure protection efforts as the fire advances. The fire reached the Rock Creek drainage late Wednesday, where crews worked overnight to continue directing the fire away from structures. To date, no structures have been lost, but rolling debris and falling snags will continue to be a threat even after the fire passes. Fire spread upriver continues to result from terrain-influenced winds, but upslope spread is also stalled due different fuel types (moist, high-elevation shrub fields and rocky slopes).
Motorway Fires – Mussellshell Creek and 535 have stayed within indirect containment lines but are slowly growing together. Fire spread on the Mussellshell Creek, 535, and Lost Hat fires remains limited, with little fire growth observed Wednesday. As resources become available and the Mussellshell Creek and 535 fires become secure, firefighters will engage other fires in this area. Nez Perce- Clearwater National Forests Fire Update Motorway Complex Smoke Concerns: Air quality continues to be unhealthy.
For more information on current air quality conditions, visit http://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/ and http://app.airsis.com/USFS/fleet.aspx For information about mitigating smoke related health hazards, visit http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/p/smoke-and-health.html
Closures: Significant Forest area and Selway River closures are in effect because of wildfire activity. Closures are listed at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/nezperceclearwater/alerts-notices. Closures can change, so check back regularly.
Announcements: A public meeting will be held TONIGHT, August 27, at the Three Rivers Resort & Motel, 7:00 p.m. Fire managers will provide updates specific to the Slide and Woodrat fires.
Fire Information Line: 208-926-4170 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Fire information and updates are available at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov, where you can opt to follow specific fire updates via Twitter, Facebook and other social media.