Sunday, July 20, 2014

Firefighters at Whiskey Complex: Strong Concern for Public Entering Closed Areas

Posted By on Sun, Jul 20, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Fire backing slowly towards the SF Payette River

The total firefighting personnel on the front lines of the Whiskey Complex now tops 1,000, as more than 8,400 acres have burned in the Boise National Forest near the Boise County communities of Garden Valley and Pioneerville. Officials say the blaze is now 20 percent contained. Thirty-seven engines and 11 helicopters are on the scene.

Crews are spending the weekend creating controlled burns to eliminate dry fuels between an indirect fireline and the wildfire. Meanwhile, two additional hotshot crews have been shifted from the Payette National Forest to bolster crew strength on the Whiskey Complex.

Officials said the south flank remains "a big challenge" because the fire jumped Forest Road 395 "which is a key holding line." Four hotshot crews and six engines worked that flank throughout the day Saturday. Meanwhile, the southern flank remains about 1.5 miles from Pioneerville.

An area closure has been estabilished around the Whiskey Complex extending to points near Placerville, Centerville and Pioneerville. Additionly, the Hot Springs Campground remains closed.

But officials said they were very concerned because "there were many observations of the public entering the closed area." Firefighting managers said "this is a strong concern due to the uncontrolled fire and the risk if the fire suddenly became very active could put both the violator and incident responders in danger. The public is strongly urged to not enter the closure area."

And the Banks-to-Lowman Road (Highway 17) is open, but at times smoky and travelers need to use caution.

Fire seen from Highway 17 (Banks Lowman Highway)

Fire backing slowly towards the SF Payette River<br />

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