Below is an update on three of Idaho’s biggest fires, as well as one in Wyoming.
Mustang Complex Fire
The Mustang Complex Fire grew about 4,450 acres Tuesday, scorching 246,160 acres as of Wednesday morning. Fire growth was on the eastern side of the fire perimeter, which is about three miles from Highway 93. Tuesday’s fire growth in the Sage, Hull and Hughes creek drainages was mainly a slow-moving ground fire with periodic tree torching.
Fire crews expected these drainages to see more active fire behavior and growth Wednesday.
Evacuation Levels remain elevated for portions of the Highway 93 corridor from North Fork to Gibbonsville. The Idaho National Guard is staffing checkpoints and providing 24/7 security in evacuated communities.
All homes on both sides of Highway 93 from the intersection of Salmon River Road north to Hull Creek Road are now under an evacuation level 2.
All homes along the west side of Highway 93 from Sheep Creek Road north to Gibbonsville Road are under an evacuation level 2.
There have also been new evacuation orders for folks in Ravalli County, Mont.
The blaze, which was started by lightning July 30, is 16 percent contained.
The Halstead Fire continued to spread north and east Tuesday, which was fanned by the winds. There were a few spot fires onto the west side of Marsh Creek that firefighters worked as soon as they were discovered.
The fire is burning140,366 acres in the Salmon-Challis National Forest and is about three miles north of Stanley and is 6 percent contained.
Most campgrounds are open, except for Blind Creek, Flat Rock, Pole Flat, Custer No. 1, Eight Mile, Beaver Creek, Lola Creek, Marsh Creek Transfer, O’Brien, Josephus Lake, and along the Salmon River from Lower Stanley to Indian Riffles, including Salmon, Casino, Riverside and Mormon Bend campgrounds.
The fire was beginning to surround the Lost Packer Mine near Pinyon Peak on Wednesday. Firefighters continue to run sprinklers and attend to pumps in that are to help keep the fire from the private land, the Forest Service said. Firefighters continued conducting burnout operations using both hand firing and aerial techniques, behind the residences at Cow Camp and along Valley Creek. These operations produced a large column of smoke that was visible from Stanley and from Highway 21.
Vehicles on the portion of Highway 75 between Stanley and Challis are being escorted by a pilot car. The affected section is from Stanley to Peach Creek. Smoke, fire equipment and potential falling debris from the Halstead Fire has necessitated this action to protect motorists’ safety, according to a news release. Escorted traffic will continue until fire conditions change.
Two meetings have been scheduled to inform the public on firefighting efforts:
Stanley Community Meeting on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Center. Yankee Fork Work Center Community Meeting will be on Sept. 7 at 7:00 p.m.
Lightning started this fire July 27.
Trinity Ridge Fire
Good news for those living near the Trinity Ridge Fire, which is burning two miles northwest of Featherville: The blaze is slowing and cooling. It is 56 contained and is burning 145,787 acres.
The southern and eastern flanks of the fire are looking increasingly secure. The only significant heat shown by the infrared flight Tuesday night was in the extreme north end of the fire, the Boise National Forest said.
This fire started Aug. 3 and was human-caused.
North Buffalo Fire
This fire is burning in the Teton Wilderness in the Bridger-Teton National Forest 14 miles northeast of Moran, Wyo. It was about 14,000 acres on Wednesday with 10 percent containment.
The fire is active in Soda Fork, Joy Creek and North Buffalo Fork.
Crews said they are trying to hold the southwest corner of the blaze to prevent it from advancing toward Buffalo Valley.
The fire started Aug. 24 from unknown causes.