Crews work to contain 2,500 acre fire in Salmon-Challis National Forest


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Lightning caused wildfire in Salmon-Challis National Forest | Courtesy photo

SALMON – Three fires in Salmon-Challis National Forest have collectively burned more than 2,500 acres.

The lightning-caused Rabbit Foot, Weasel and Morgan fires are burning in close proximity and are expected to merge, official say.

Firefighters are aggressively engaging in directly attacking the fire perimeter. This will include re-establishing fuel breaks as well as constructing new control lines at the fire’s edge. Such line may be built by bulldozers, mechanized equipment like a feller-buncher or hand line constructed by fire crews.

The Salmon Challis has a long history of large dangerous wildfires, including Salt, Butte, Lake Mountain, Ship Island and Cramer fires. Fires here can exhibit rapid growth and extreme fire behavior. Steep terrain and an abundance of disease damaged trees and old snags, dead standing trees, contribute to the challenge of fighting fire in this country.

Even though cooler temperatures with a possibility of showers are predicted in the fire area Sunday, this may result in thunderstorms producing gusty and erratic winds generating extreme fire behavior with aggressive spotting potential in large jackpots of dead standing, beetle-killed trees.

The team is mindful that bull trout, steelhead and chinook salmon fisheries resources occur within the area and protective fish screens will be used at water drafting sites, as well as identifying whitebark pine growing at high elevations.

Roads near the fire have been closed. Drones and aircraft are prohibited while crews works to contain the fire.