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Moose Fire 20% contained, grows to 64,078 acres


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Photo and video provided by Salmon-Challis National Forest

SALMON – Getting control of the Moose Fire southwest of North Fork near Salmon has been an 18-day battle for firefighters.

The fire, which started on July 17 and is believed to be human-caused, is burning in “steep, hazardous terrain,” according to fire officials, and is 20% contained. Hot, dry and windy conditions have been an ongoing challenge for crews battling the blaze and have contributed to its steady growth.

In the last 48 hours, the fire has spread an additional 6,000 acres, bringing its total size to 64,078 acres.

RELATED | Moose Fire 23% contained, wildfire grows to 58,168 acres

A red flag warning is in place Thursday from noon to 9 p.m., with forecasters predicting temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees in the area and wind gusts as high as 48 mph. Though there is only a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms, firefighters are anticipating another active day of growth.

Helicopters and air tankers were deployed Wednesday for the first time since two pilots were killed in a helicopter crash on the Salmon River on July 21. They assisted ground crews by dropping fire retardant on the south side of the fire in the Jackass Ridge and Daily Creek areas.

RELATED | Pilots killed in Salmon River helicopter crash

“Ground crews focused suppression efforts on a 100-acre spot fire south of the Diamond Line and Ridge Road,” a Thursday morning news release from Salmon-Challis National Forest says.

Crews are hoping to create containment lines on the south and west sides of the fire Thursday as they continue working to protect homes and buildings in the area.

“Further south, firefighters are working to strengthen fuel breaks along the Ridge Road and Williams Creek Road,” fire officials say. “As today‚Äôs winds increase from the southwest, we will see an increase in smoke … to the northeast. Late morning through the afternoon, there is potential for increased impact to Salmon, Carmen, and North Fork, while locations to the south and west of the fire should see less smoke.”

Evacuation orders and road closures are in effect in certain areas. A pilot car will continue assisting people on Salmon River Road.

The Woodtick Fire, six miles northwest of Meyers Cove in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area, is seeing steady growth as well, which is outlined in the Facebook post below.

A community meeting will be held at the Sacajawea Center Amphitheater in Salmon on Thursday at 6 p.m. It will also be streamed on the Salmon-Challis National Forest Facebook page.