Elk Creek, Pony Complex Fires Erupt, Forcing Evacuations, Massive Firefighting Effort


Tension remains high in and around the town of Pine as the fast-moving Elk Complex Fire, which has now burned more than 80,000 acres, continues to threaten life and limb. Fire managers said Aug. 11 that the Elk Complex blaze had grown into the "nation's number one priority fire."

Huge plumes of fire have made many parts of the blaze inaccessible to firefighters and many access road have become impassible due to downed power lines, debris and fallen timber.

The Elmore County Sheriff's Office has implemented evacuations in Pine and officials have shut down a number of roads including the Pine/Featherville Road, Cow Creek Road and Blacks Creek Road.

Meanwhile the Pony Complex Fire has burned more than 120,000 acres and is 20 percent contained. Flames destroyed two cabins Aug. 11 and an outbuilding near Syrup Creek.

The Elmore County Sheriff's Office has issued evacuation orders for the community of Mayfield and the Canyon Creek area, while firefighters built a dozer line from Cow Creek to the Benton trailhead along the northwest flank of the blaze.

Due to the size and critical nature of the two complex fires, the Boise National Forest has initiated a large closure area that extends approximately on the east side from Road 181 to the junction of the Fairfield Ranger District boundary, including the Pine/Featherville road; north from Atlanta along the Middle Fork Boise Road over to the Deer Park Rental Cabin; then west along Forest Road 327 to Idaho City and Highway 21 on the west. Additionally, the Trinity Lakes Recreation area is closed.

Meanwhile, the Idaho Department of Lands is managing multiple fires, including the Pilot Fire, which has burned approximately 11 acres 10 miles east of Garden Valley; the Missouri Fire, two miles north of Pioneerville, the Clear Fire, two miles northeast of Pioneerville; and the Jackson Fire, 5 miles northeast of Placerville.

Stage 1 fire restrictions remain in effect, including no campfires outside of an agency designated recreation site, until further notice.