Payette Responds to New Fire Starts, Orders Type 2 Incident Management Team
Incident: Thunder City Wildfire
McCall, ID – The Payette National Forest is responding to two new fire starts on the Forest that are likely a result of “holdovers” from last Wednesday’s thunderstorm that passed over the Forest. Holdover fires occur after a lightning strike ignites fuel that may smolder for at times days before breaking out into flames. The new fires have been named the Thunder City Fire and the Bear Lake Fire, both on the Krassel Ranger District near the historic Stibnite mining district.
The Thunder City fire is estimated at 80 acres and first appeared yesterday afternoon. Due to the steep terrain and lack of safe areas, engaging the fire with crews on the ground has been difficult. Smoke jumpers and an Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) that and been suppressing the fire have been pulled off the fire line as they have not gained the upper hand, and have not been able to establish a safety zone. The main focus has been the use of retardant and bucket drops to stop the fire spread, but until there are safe areas for crews to dig line around the fire it will continue to be difficult to hold ground against fire spread. A Type 2 Interagency Management Team has been ordered and is expected to assume command on Tuesday. The fire continues to spot to the east into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area, and into Sugar Creek. There are no structures currently threatened by this fire. An Inciweb fire information page for this fire can be found at: http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3532/
The Bear Lake Fire is approximately 5 air miles to the north of the Thunder City Fire and within the wilderness area. It is currently at 3 acres and has not responded to aerial fire suppression resources. Fire managers are currently monitoring this fire and no structures are threatened at this time.
The Forest has increased its firefighting resources and currently has 2 IHC, three Type 2 Initial Attack hand crews, one Type 2 hand crew, two Type 1 Heli-tankers, one Type 2 water dropping helicopter and one Type 3 helicopter working the fires. Five air tankers have been busy supporting firefighting efforts on the Thunder City Fire from the McCall Tanker Base.
“We have a Haines Index of 5 today, and low relative humidity levels with poor recovery across the Forest,” said Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom. “These factors combined with our Energy Release Component pushing into the 90 percentile on both the east and west sides of the Forest has equated to increased fire activity. We were hoping to have our live green fuel moisture levels remain wet, but these hot and dry days are taking a toll across the Forest.”
Previously reported fires: All fire starts that were reported on Wednesday and Thursday have been controlled. The Papoose Fire, burning in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness on the Payette and Salmon-Challis National Forests is at 5,925 acres today and continues to burn in grass, brush, and timber at moderate rate of spread within the Middle Fork of the Salmon River drainage. Management of this fire is under the administration of the Salmon-Challis National Forest. For additional information on this fire, visit the Inciweb site at: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3510/
No Fire restrictions are in effect across the Forest at this time, but visitors are encouraged to check-in at a ranger district office for the latest information. “The public needs to stay vigilant concerning wildfires within the Forest,” added Lannom. “We are currently at a High level of fire dangers across the Forest and visitors need to be extra careful while recreating on the Forest.”
Members of the public that are interested in receiving Fire Information Updates directly from the Forest are encouraged to send an e-mail note to firstname.lastname@example.org requesting that their e-mail address to be added to the fire information mailing list. Follow the Payette National Forest on Twitter at @PayetteForest.
Further information on these and all additional wildfires will be made available as it is received.