Idaho wildland firefighters are heading toward the long Labor Day weekend knowing full well that there isn't any chance of holiday in sight.
The Cougar Fire has now burned more than 1,200 acres approximately 20 miles northeast of Cascade. There are still 149 firefighting personnel on the scene, pulling nearly 130,000 feet of fire hose. The Warm Lake Highway 22 remains open, but the public is being asked to drive slowly through the area as fire vehicles enter and exit the highway.
Meanwhile, the Boise National Forest reported three new fires early Monday, one of which is already contained. The Pine Fire burned about 4 acres 18 miles north of Crouch. The 1-acre Liggett Fire, about 10 miles east of Cascade has hand crews, an engine and helicopters on the scene. And the Alder Fire, near Garden Valley, is already contained at 2 acres.
The Rapid Fire, burning 12 miles southeast of McCall, grew by an additional 529 acres Sunday, and has now scorched 7,483 acres. Officials said the fire is burning in heavy fuels along rough terrain in the Payette National Forest. The blaze is 40 percent contained.
And the huge Tepee Springs Fire continues to burn 3 miles east of Riggins and has crossed the Salmon River. Officials said Monday's efforts would include holding and improving the fire line along the west and southeastern flanks of the fire, while crews continue to work on structure protection along the Salmon River corridor.
Firefighters are also working closely with local law enforcement to escort stranded rafters from the Vinegar Creek take out to the town of Riggins along the Salmon River corridor as fire behavior allows. Unfortunately, firefighters said the area was expecting higher humidity and warmer temperatures Monday afternoon, which may increase fire activity.
The Campbells Fire is currently estimated at 7,648 acres in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Firefighters there say they're setting up for structure protection at Chamberlain and Stonebraker Ranch.
And the nearby Dillinger Fire, also in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, has burned 6,477 acres east of Dillinger Meadows.