Friday, November 8, 2013

Areas Closed Due to Elk, Pony Complex Fires Reopened

Posted By on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 12:26 PM

click to enlarge The Elk Complex fire burned more than 131,000 acres just 10 miles south of Pine. - COURTESY INCIWEB
  • Courtesy Inciweb
  • The Elk Complex fire burned more than 131,000 acres just 10 miles south of Pine.

Nearly all areas scorched by the massive Elk and Pony Complex fires this summer have been reopened as of Nov. 6, according to officials with the Boise National Forest.

The lightning-caused Elk Complex fire, about 10 miles southwest of Pine, burned more than 131,000 acres from Aug. 8-31, while the Pony Complex fire, just a few more miles to the south, burned nearly 150,000 acres from Aug. 8-20. The sprawling blazes choked communities from the Wood River Valley to Boise and forced evacuations in several towns. Smoke and closures from area fires combined to damage tourism, too, dramatically limiting summer business for resort communities like Ketchum and Sun Valley.

Nearly 75 percent of the burned areas suffered high to moderate damage, resulting in the closure of broad swaths of land. Officials revised and reduced those closures, reopening areas including the South Fork Boise River, downstream from the Anderson Ranch Dam.

All other previously closed land is open for use, except the Dog Creek area east of the Pine Featherville Road; the Wilson Creek Trail System, which is closed to mechanized and motorized use; and the Danksin Mountain OHV Area, also closed to mechanized and motorized use, but open for foot and horse use.

Fire damage combined with mud slides have eroded trails and other infrastructure in the Danksin and Wilson Creek areas, so even non-motorized users should tread carefully. Rafters on the recently reopened South Fork Boise River should be aware that the river has substantially changed with new channels, flows and large trees in the water. Recreation on the river is limited to day use only.

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