Red Flag Warning Greets Another Day of Fighting Massive Idaho Wildfires


Fire managers say they have a good reason to be nervous over the Red Flag Warning that remains in effect through today and continuing until noon Friday, Aug. 23. The forecast calls for lightning and outflow winds of up to 40 miles per hour.

The region's biggest concern, the Beaver Creek Fire, has burned approximately 110,000 acres and containment is now at 47 percent. More than 1,700 firefighting personnel are on the scene of the wildfire this morning.

On the north end of the blaze, a series of 20-person Hotshot crews have burned firelines along the Norton Creek Road to the North Creek Trailhead and have held the line along Baker Lake Road.

In the Big Wood River corridor north of Greenhorn, Hotshot crews are holding the fireline in the Cold Springs Area. One Hotshot crew spent the night near the fireline to get an earlier start this morning. Due to the progress, mandatory evacuations on the east side of the highway in Cold Spring, Gimlet and Meadows were downgraded to a pre-evacuation status.

In the Croy Canyon area, Hotshot crews are working to secure the southern perimeter. Mandatory evacuations are still in effect for that area.

Meanwhile, a mandatory evacuation remains in effect for the town of Atlanta where the 10,352-acre Little Queens fire continues to burn only a few miles from town. The Little Queens wildfire is only 5 percent contained.

More than 20 engines are in Atlanta and three 20-person Hotshot crews are assessing opportunities to fight the fire directly.

A closure order has been implement on portions of the Sawtooth and Boise National Forests due to the rapid movement of the Little Queens Fire.

In Southern Idaho, a Stage 1 Fire Restriction has gone into effect, beginning today, for all public lands south of Interstate 84. The areas include private and agency lands protected by the Sawtooth National Forest, Idaho Department of Lands and Bureau of Land Management. That includes all private and State protected lands outside incorporated city limits within Twin Falls, Cassia, Lincoln, Jerome, Minidoka, Blaine, Camas, Gooding, portions of Oneida and Power counties.

In the New Meadows Ranger District of the Payette National Forest, the lightning-caused Howard Fire has burned 190 acres and is 25 percent contained.

In the Krassel Ranger District of the Payette National Forest, the Thunder City Fire has burned nearly 13,000 acres northeast of the Stibnite Mining District and is 15 percent contained. Fire managers say the Thunder City blaze has reached Holy Terror Creek and is working its way up Lookout Mountain, threatening the historic mining area.