Here’s the latest on fires burning in eastern Idaho
The following is a news release and photo from the Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire Center.
IDAHO FALLS — Several fires are burning in southeast Idaho, each requiring a unique management strategy. Fire officials expect activity to increase on several fires and prescribed burns over the next few days due to low humidity and higher temperatures. However, a cooling trend is predicted to arrive on Wednesday bringing cooler temperatures and possible moisture.
Big Elk – Detected on August 31, the Big Elk fire is burning approximately 8 miles southwest of Wilson, Wyoming northeast of Palisades Reservoir. Fire crews are initiating a full suppression strategy due to its potential for growth and resources at risk. The fire is currently one acre in size burning on a steep hillside covered in thick timber. The fire’s location is presenting several challenges to firefighting operations including the presence of snags, rolling materials, steep terrain and sheer cliffs. Access is limited and helicopters are being used to shuttle in crew members and complete bucket drops when necessary. Two helitack crews comprised of 12 individuals and eight smokejumpers are engaged in suppression efforts. Estimated time of containment is set for Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. The incident commander hopes to fully control the fire by Sept. 6. Due to the location of the fire, there is potential for a possible trail closure to ensure public safety. The public is asked to avoid the Big Elk Creek Trail (097) to allow for safe firefighting operations.
Mile Marker 1 – The Mile Marker 1 fire started today, 11 miles south of Malad on I-15. Several resources responded and contained the fire to 2 acres by early this afternoon.
Tincup – The Tincup fire was detected on July 30, approximately 30 miles northeast of Soda Springs near the Grays Lake Wildlife Refuge. The lightning-caused fire is now 81 acres, burning in rugged terrain within the
Caribou Mountain Range. Historically, fire has played an important role in the environment by acting as a natural disturbance agent. With this natural ignition, Caribou-Targhee National Forest (CTNF) managers plan to reduce heavy fuel loading, stimulate aspen regeneration and increase plant diversity. Information on the Tincup Fire will be updated weekly on inciweb here.
Boone – The Boone fire was detected August 16, approximately 25 miles north of Driggs on the Wyoming border. The fire is approximately 89 acres in size. The CTNF is aware of several important values in the area including BSA Camp Loll and structures within Squirrel Meadows. The fire currently poses minimal threat to these resources. Should conditions change, additional steps will be taken. Fire behavior was moderated due to precipitation, but it remains creeping and smoldering with isolated single-tree and group-tree torching. This lightning-ignition provides an opportunity for the CTNF to achieve the following resource objectives including: reduce heavy fuel loading, decrease the intensity of a future wildland fire, increase plant and animal diversity and restore wildlife habitat. The fire is still several miles away from Grand Teton National Park. Information on the Boone Fire will be updated weekly and available on inciweb here.
Fall Creek Aspen Restoration Project Prescribed Burn – Burning operations continue on the Fall Creek Aspen project, which is located near Palisades Reservoir between 4th of July and Commissary Ridge. As of August 29, 800-acres have been completed. By increasing aspen stands and enhancing vegetation diversity and composition through this prescribed fire effort, the IDF&G, CTNF and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation seek to improve big game habitat. Fire managers will continue to evaluate conditions with the intent to continue actively burning through Sept. 6 should weather conditions allow. The Forest and IDF&G is aware that a small portion of Hunting Unit 66 is affected between 4th of July and Commissary Ridge. However, the majority of the area is still open to archery enthusiasts. For public safety the CTNF strongly advises individuals to stay off trail 262 (along 4th of July Ridge); trail 017 (along Commissary Ridge); and trail 260 (which connects 4th of July to Commissary). For more information contact the Palisades Ranger District at (208) 523-1412
St. Charles Prescribed Burn – The St. Charles Prescribed Burn project kicked off last week. The St. Charles project is located approximately eight miles west of St. Charles. Fire officials are using hand ignition methods to eliminate dense fuel loading in a controlled manner. Additional resource objectives include using fire as a method to regenerate aspen stands to promote wildlife habitat and increase plant diversity. For more information, please contact the Montpelier Ranger District at (208) 847-0375.