Wildfire Season Continues in Payette National Forest 

click to enlarge The Tepee Springs Fire in early September, before it reached 100 percent containment. - INCIWEB
  • InciWeb
  • The Tepee Springs Fire in early September, before it reached 100 percent containment.


Since the smoke has cleared in the Treasure Valley, and forest closures around the state have been lifted, it's easy to forget wildfire season is still smoldering. According to a news release from Payette National Forest officials, two new fires were spotted Oct. 11 in the lower elevations of the Payette National Forest, and the 96,000-acre Tepee Springs Fire became active.

The two new fires are small, with the Lonesome Fire burning one acre, two miles north of Pollock Mountain summit to the west of Highway 95; and the Rattle Fire burning only 1/10th of an acre, three miles northeast of Pinehurst. Both fires are burning in heavy fuels, so aerial resources are being deployed to keep the fires small. Neither is expected to increase in size today.

A gusty cold front overnight contributed to both fires, as well as causing a flare-up on the Tepee Springs Fire, which burned 600-800 acres near Lake Creek on the south side of the Salmon River. The burning happened in the existing containment line, so fire officials don't expect it to cause problems for Riggins or along Highway 95. The fire is still considered 100 percent contained at this time.

Fire officials are using this as an opportunity to remind campers and hunters to continue using caution with campfires. Dirt should be thrown on a campfire if it gets out of control, and campfires should never be left unattended. Use water to make sure all embers, coals and sticks are extinguished and wet. Do not bury coals.

While the Tepee Springs Fire is active, the Burned Area Emergency Response team was able to finish its assessment and recommend several emergency treatments to be completed in the next year. Those treatments include spraying noxious weeds, repairing culverts near roads, rebuilding trails in severely burned areas, monitoring the water at Spring Bar Campground, monitoring tree mortality and removing hazardous trees, and developing an early warning system for residents in the Snake River Canyon in case of flash floods and debris torrents. 

The Bureau of Land Management also completed its rehabilitation plan for the 280,000 acres in southwest Idaho burned by the Soda Fire in August. The plan includes erosion mitigation, seeding and sage-steppe habitat restoration.

An Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation team assesses the area burned by the Soda Fire. - INCIWEB
  • InciWeb
  • An Emergency Stabilization and Rehabilitation team assesses the area burned by the Soda Fire.

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