Hot shot crews began to attack the new 600 acre spot fire that broke out late last night on the south side of the South Fork Payette River. This spot fire is about 1/2 mile east of Banks and has burned mostly east along the South Fork Payette River for roughly 2 miles. Fire crews also did fuel reduction work just southwest of Banks and Highway 55 as a defensive measure if the spot fire moves towards that area.
The approximately 3100 acre Springs Fire is a challenging fire to fight due to the steep terrain and hot temperatures, but progress is being made.
Highway 55 beginning at Banks (Milepost 79 and north to Milepost 84) remains closed due to the rocks continually falling on the road. The fire loosens the rocks, and with the very steep slopes they are falling at great rate of speed on the road bed. The fire has burned along the highway for several miles and is well established in higher areas above the road. Idaho Department of Transportation is coordinating the traffic flow on the highway and it is unknown when it might re-open. The best alternate route is Highway 95.
On Highway 17 (Banks – Lowman Road) from milepost 0 to 5.0 traffic is restricted to one lane and is being escorted by a pilot car. Delays range from 15 to 30 minutes. It may have intermittent periods of long delays (closure) due to firefighting activity.
The fireline has held on the east flank, about ½ mile from the Frazier Creek rural subdivision and there are engines, pumps and hoses in place around the approximately 18 structures in that area. Crews made good progress on the northeast flank.
There is no estimate of containment. A Type 1 Incident Management Team has arrived and will be briefed on the fire situation in preparation for assuming command of the incident. Nearly 240 fire fighters are battling the blaze, with hand crews, engines, helicopters and air tankers involved.
Rafters on the South Fork Payette River will need to use caution traveling the river where the helicopters are dipping. The river is currently open.