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Heavy thunderstorms predicted for Salmon-Challis National Forest starting Sunday

SALMON, Idaho (KIFI) - Heavy thunderstorms are predicted for the Salmon-Challis National Forest starting Sunday, August 20, 2023, and are expected to remain in the area through Monday night. 

Forest visitors must be prepared to stay longer than expected due to changing circumstances. Weather conditions such as precipitation and wind can rapidly change conditions on the ground. Wind can blow trees across roadways and precipitation can wash debris across roadways blocking access. Preparation for the unexpected is the best plan a Forest visitor can have. Items to consider include:

  • Adequate food, water, clothing, sleeping bags, and other provisions needed in case of inclement weather and extended stay is necessary in the area of travel.
  • Chainsaw and fuel, handsaw, and shovel, in case trees or other debris blocks road access.
  • Forest visitors should inform someone they know about where they are going and when they plan to be back in case an emergency situation arises.
  • Communications that will work in the area they plan to travel (cell phone, satellite phone, or satellite emergency notification device).

Additionally, there are two large fires that burned on the Salmon-Challis National Forest in 2022 and 2023, the Moose and Hayden Fires. While there is still a closure in place for the Hayden Fire, there are hazards associated with traveling adjacent to and entering burned areas. 

Of particular concern is the Salmon River Road, from North Fork to Panther Creek Road. The Moose Fire burned along the Main Salmon River, adjacent to the Salmon River Road. There is potential for rocks and other debris to slough down onto the roadway and into the river. 

“The Salmon-Challis National Forest, especially within and adjacent to last summer’s burned areas, has already been impacted by summer thunderstorms,” Forest Supervisor Chuck Mark said. “The predicted heavy rain that is to accompany the thunderstorms on Sunday and Monday are of concern.” 

In addition to debris and blockages on Forest roadways, visitors may also encounter waterways that have a brown or black color. Visitors are more likely to see this after a weather event such as a thunderstorm.  This coloration is due to fine sediment and debris that runs off the hillsides and into the streams and rivers.

Article Topic Follows: Idaho

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