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Firefighters Expecting Increased Fire Behavior

Firefighters are expecting an increase in fire activity Monday as higher temperatures and low humidity develop over the region.

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Labor Day for much of the central mountains.

Five fires continue to burn in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. Below is a summary of each of the fires.

BLACK CANYON FIRE: Despite warmer temperatures and lower relative humidity Sunday, the Black Canyon Fire did not grow significantly. However, single tree torching with short range spotting in the interior of the fire was observed yesterday. Crews were also able to gain access through INL property yesterday to recon the southern end of the fire. The fire is 2,330 acres and 15% contained at this time. Aerial and ground recons will continue today. With even warmer, drier temperatures and lower humidity than yesterday, crews will be on the alert for increases in fire activity. The weather forecast for today indicates a wind shift, gustier winds, and a greater chance of dry thunderstorms for the fire area. One of the primary concerns is that ?roll out,? rolling burning material, from the fire area will roll down to the mouth of drainages, possibly igniting fire outside the fire perimeter.

One Hotshot crew and one engine will be leaving the fire today having reached their 14-day limit for being on continuous assignment. One helicopter is also being released.

A long-term fire management plan continues to be developed which includes defined management action points (MAPs). When the fire reaches MAPs, fire managers will take appropriate pre-defined actions to mitigate fire spread. Smoke will continue to be visible until there is a significant weather change.

Resources: 1 Helicopter, 5 Engines, 4 Crews, 167 Total Personnel. Start Date: 31 August Cause: Lightning

SALT FIRE: The Salt Fire has now burned 11,282 acres in the Salmon-Challis National Forest. The fire is 17 percent contained. On Sunday, September 4, an inversion over the Salt fire lasted until about 4 p.m. The result was low-hanging smoke filling the valleys. The fire made short runs and spot fires created a smoke column on its north side. The burnout along Road 045 was looking good. Work also proceeded on indirect fire line on Road 028, west of Williams Lake. Road 028 is a contingency fire line should the fire go east of Road 045.

On Monday, work will continue on the spot fires off the north side. Firefighters will continue to hold and monitor road 045. Over the last few days, firefighters have built a solid line, both hand line and dozer line, around the northwest end. They will also continue working on Road 028, building fire line from 028 to Road 413. Firefighters will patrol the west and south sides of the fire. They will assess any flare-ups on the north side before committing resources there.

Resources: 7 Helicopters; 10 Engines; 6 Bulldozers; 15 Water Tenders; 567 Total Personnel Start Date: 25 August Cause: Lightning

THE VELVET FIRE: The Velvet Fire, located about 5 miles northeast of the Boundary Creek launch site, has grown to about 1,300 acres. Active in Soldier Creek drainage on the east flank approximately 2.5 miles from the river and Velvet Creek on the west flank approximately 1.6 miles from the river, smoky conditions have limited visibility and fire activity for most of the day due to higher humidity. The primary concern from the fire is if it backs down the bottom of the ridge and “leapfrogs” down and up ridges ultimately reaching the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. There is currently a Type 4 IC assigned to the fire, assisted by three firefighters and the Middle Fork River Patrol who are completing an assessment of river camps and the Joe Bump Cabin site in the river reach between Dagger Falls and Rapid River. A fire lookout is in place at Artillery Dome approximately 7 miles north of the fire area. The Velvet Fire is being managed for multiple resource objectives, including the return of fire to the ecosystem.

Resources: 5 Total Personnel Start Date: 13 August Cause: Lightning

SHIP ISLAND FIRE: The Ship Island Fire, last reported at 88 acres, has shown small increases in size, is burning about 3.5 miles up Ship Island Creek from the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Fire activity showed a moderate increase over previous days. Winds on the fire appeared to remain up slope all day. While the fire is allowed to play its natural role in the ecosystem, a crew has been divided into separate squads to assist in limiting the fire?s impact on the river corridor. One squad is monitoring the fire from the Stoddard Lookout; one squad is patrolling the Bighorn Crags area; and the third squad has launched from Bernard to serve as a point of contact for boaters and also to assess campgrounds.

Resources: 1 Crew; 17 Total Personnel Start Date: 25 August Cause: Lightning

SADDLE COMPLEX: The Idaho portion of the Saddle Complex Showed more activity on Sunday due to higher temperatures and lower humidity. A column of smoke was observed in the Reynolds Creek drainage on the northwest side of the fire, but is not expected to cross over into Montana at that point. The rest of the fire on the Idaho side continued to creep downhill and make short uphill runs. The total acreage is now 27,026 with 13,236 acres in Idaho. Close monitoring and point to point protection is in place for any values at risk. This fire is being allowed to play its natural role in the ecosystem.

Resources: 3 Crews; 3 Engines; 1 Water Tender; 72 Total Personnel Start Date: 10 August Cause: Lightning

For more information on area closures and on fires burning on the Salmon-Challis National Forest, visit

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