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Numerous fires keep east Idaho forests busy

Several fires are burning on forest land throughout eastern Idaho and each of them is requiring a little different management approach. A cooling trend, starting Wednesday, may bring some moisture and some relief.

In the meantime, the Caribou-Targhee National Forest reported Monday:

Boone — The Boone fire was detected August 16, approximately 25 miles north of Driggs, ID on the Wyoming border. The fire is approximately 89 acres in size. The CTNF is aware of several important values in the area including BSA Camp Loll and structures within Squirrel Meadows. The fire currently poses minimal threat to these resources. Should conditions change, additional steps will be taken. Fire behavior was moderated due to precipitation, but it remains creeping and smoldering with isolated single-tree and group-tree torching. This lightning-ignition provides an opportunity for the CTNF to achieve the following resource objectives including: reduce heavy fuel loading, decrease the intensity of a future wildland fire, increase plant and animal diversity and restore wildlife habitat. The fire is still several miles away from Grand Teton National Park.

Big Elk –Detected on August 31, the Big Elk fire is burning approximately 8 miles southwest of Wilson, WY. northeast of Palisades Reservoir. Fire crews are initiating a full suppression strategy due to its potential for growth and resources at risk. The fire is currently one acre in size burning on a steep hillside covered in thick timber. The fire’s location is presenting several challenges to firefighting operations including the presence of snags, rolling materials, steep terrain and sheer cliffs. Access is limited and helicopters are being used to shuttle in crew members and complete bucket drops when necessary. Two helitack crews comprised of 12 individuals and eight smoke jumpers are engaged in suppression efforts. The estimated time of containment is set for Monday at 7:00 p.m. The incident commander hopes to fully control the fire by Sept. 6. Due to the location of the fire, there is potential for a possible trail closure to ensure public safety. The public is asked to avoid the Big Elk Creek Trail (097) to allow for safe firefighting operations.

Mile Marker 1 – The Mile Marker 1 fire started Sunday, 11 miles south of Malad on I-15. Several resources responded and contained the fire to 2 acres by early Sunday afternoon.

Tincup — The Tincup fire was detected on July 30, approximately 30 miles northeast of Soda Springs near the Grays Lake Wildlife Refuge. The lightning-caused fire is now 81 acres, burning in rugged terrain within the Caribou Mountain Range. Historically, fire has played an important role in the environment by acting as a natural disturbance agent. With this natural ignition, Caribou-Targhee National Forest (CTNF) managers plan to reduce heavy fuel loading, stimulate aspen regeneration and increase plant diversity.

Fall Creek Aspen Restoration Project Prescribed Burn- Burning operations continue on the Fall Creek Aspen project, which is located near Palisades Reservoir between 4th of July and Commissary Ridge. As of August 29, 800-acres have been completed. By increasing aspen stands and enhancing vegetation diversity and composition through this prescribed fire effort, the IDF&G, CTNF and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation seek to improve big game habitat. Fire managers will continue to evaluate conditions with the intent to continue actively burning through Sept. 6 should weather conditions allow. The Forest and IDF&G is aware that a small portion of Hunting Unit 66 is affected between 4th of July and Commissary Ridge. However, the majority of the area is still open to archery enthusiasts. For public safety the CTNF strongly advises individuals to stay off trail 262 (along 4th of July Ridge); trail 017 (along Commissary Ridge); and trail 260 (which connects 4th of July to Commissary).

St. Charles Prescribed Burn – The St. Charles Prescribed Burn project kicked off last week. The St. Charles project is located approximately eight miles west of St. Charles, ID. Fire officials are using hand ignition methods to eliminate dense fuel loading in a controlled manner. Additional resource objectives include using fire as a method to regenerate aspen stands to promote wildlife habitat and increase plant diversity.

On the Salmon-Challis National Forest, the situation is similar. Most of its fires have been lightning related.

There has been one (1) new fire reported since the last update, August 26.

The 0.10 acre Cape Fire, reported August 26, was located approximately 17 miles northwest of Stanley. This fire was called out on August 27.

The three (3) acre Swauger Fire, reported August 25, was called out August 28.

The 443 acre Vader fire, reported July 19, was called out August 28.

The 0.5 acre Allan Fire, reported August 21, is 100% contained and is in monitor status. The fire is located approximately 13 miles northwest of North Fork.

The following fires were called out August 29:
The 0.10 acre Puzzled Fire, reported August 10.
The 41 acre Big Deer Fire, reported August 3.
The 15 acre Jenny Fire, reported on July 28.
The 0.10 acre Horse Fire, reported August 10.

The five (5) acre Paradise Fire, reported July 27 is located 44 miles northwest of Challis. No smoke was observed during the last flight over the fire area. The fire is in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, west of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. The fire is located within an old burn scar in steep, inaccessible terrain with a large component of snags in and surrounding the fire area.

The following fires are located in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The progression of these fires are being monitored and the fires are being allowed to play, as nearly as possible, their natural ecological role in the environment while providing for firefighter and public safety.

The 0.10 acre Full Moon Fire, reported August 12, is located approximately 30 miles northwest of Stanley. Fire activity is minimal; smoke continues to be observed on the fire.

The Cove Creek Fire, reported August 3, is located approximately 23 miles southwest of North Fork, north of the Salmon River. 26 people are assigned to the fire which is now estimated at 5,332 acres. There has been minimal fire activity as it creeps and smolders in Ponderosa pine and grass.

The 0.25 acre Dynamite Fire, burning in lodgepole pine was detected August 7. The fire is located approximately 1.5 miles west of the Centennial Trail in the Marble Creek drainage. No fire activity was observed on the last flight over the fire area.

The 0.1 acre Twenty Five Fire, reported August 3, located west of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, north of Pistol Creek. Smoke was observed during the last flight but fire size has not increased.

The 0.3 acre Pistol Creek Fire, reported August 3, located west of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, south of Pistol Creek. No smoke was observed last flight over the fire.
The Shady Fire, reported the evening of July 10, located approximately two (2) miles east of Seafoam Guard Station in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness on the Middle Fork Ranger District. 5 firefighters are assigned to the fire, which is now estimated at 6,070 acres. It has been burning in tall grass, subalpine fir, and dead and down trees. The fire is occasionally active with short crown runs and single tree torching running down slopes.

There are no fire restrictions on the Salmon-Challis Forest at this time, but the public is asked to be extremely careful and to fully extinguish all camp fires.

If you are camping near a wildfire suppression operation, keep your distance and keep the way clear for firefighters to do their work.

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