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Fire Crews Nearly Contain Soda Fire, Other Fires Blaze Across State

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- The Soda Fire is almost 100 percent contained, leaving behind nearly 300,000 acres of scorched sage brush land. -  - INCIWEB
  • InciWeb
  • The Soda Fire is almost 100 percent contained, leaving behind nearly 300,000 acres of scorched sage brush land.
It has taken more than 800 firefighters, five helicopters, 26 engines, nine water tenders and eight dozers over the past few days, but the Soda Fire is near containment at last. Crews have the fire almost completely contained, though it has burned 283,686 acres—a black scar so large, it's visible from space. The fire ripped through ranch and grazing lands, crucial sage grouse habitat, and the home of hundreds of wild horses. The Bureau of Land Management reported that 27 wild horses perished in the fire.

The fire sparked on Aug. 10, and the cause is still unknown. According to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, the remaining crews will patrol the area, look for any smoke and start rehabilitating containment lines. The rest of the firefighters will be reassigned to the many other fires blazing in the west. Conditions are expected to remain dry and stable through Tuesday, Aug. 18.

A federal Burned Area Emergency Response team will begin field work on Wednesday, Aug. 19, to assess the damage and create rehabilitation plans for the BLM. The plans will be implemented over the next three years.

Road closures for non-residents are still in effect for Rabbit Creek Road, Reynolds Creek Road and Silver Creek Road on the Owyhee Front. 

- The West Scriver Fire is 72 percent contained, thanks to cooperative weather and 300 personnel. -  - INCIWEB
  • InciWeb
  • The West Scriver Fire is 72 percent contained, thanks to cooperative weather and 300 personnel.
Nearby, the Mann Fire burning east of Marsing was reported at 6:15 p.m. on Aug. 17. The Weiser Fire Department responded quickly, but with high winds, the fire quickly grew to 1,000 acres. It's burning on private property as well as BLM land down to the Weiser River, including more sage grouse habitat. Structures are safe at this time. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

In the Boise National Forest, firefighters got a bit of a break yesterday when the strong winds forecasted did not present themselves, and fires burning in the national forest experienced minimal growth. 

The Cougar Fire, burning 590 acres three miles southwest of Warm Lake and 20 miles northeast of Cascade, is 25 percent contained as of this morning. There are 180 personnel fighting the fire, with plans to construct containment lines during the day. The Warm Lake Highway is open, but the area closure to the west of the lake remains in effect. The highway can still close at any time based on fire activity.

The West Scriver Fire, which is 617 acres, is now up to 72 percent contained. Favorable weather conditions helped firefighters get a handle on the blaze burning 10 miles north of Crouch. There are 300 personnel working to contain that fire.

- The Tepee Springs Fire has grown to 5,000 acres outside of New Meadows, causing evacuations. -  - PAYETTE NATIONAL FOREST
  • Payette National Forest
  • The Tepee Springs Fire has grown to 5,000 acres outside of New Meadows, causing evacuations.
In the Payette National Forest, 11 fires continue to burn—most notably, the Tepee Springs Fire. Evacuations are in effect for the east side of Highway 95 near New Meadows, as the fire has grown to 5,000 acres. Fire crews are especially focusing their efforts on the western and southwestern edge of the fire, where it threatens communities along Highway 95. Fire officials are calling it a "dynamic situation."

The Rapid Fire, burning between Donnelly and McCall near the Green Mountain area, is now at 1,000 acres and expanding southeast. A Forest Closure Order is in effect in the area. The Campbells Fire is burning 2,000 acres in the Frank Church Wilderness of No Return near Trout Creek. Crews have been successful in protecting structure and private property on the Salmon River. Boat traffic has not been affected.

Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom wrote in a news release that "the recent lightning-caused wildfires have stretched not only the Payette's fire suppression resources, but all the nation's resources to the max."

"All our local firefighters are assigned to fires and we have requested additional crews, engines, and aviation resources," he continued. "Unfortunately given the high demand for resources across the west, our requests for additional fire personnel and equipment cannot be filled."

Lannom said he expects containment of these fires to take several weeks with the limited resources that they have.

The Clearwater Complex Fire near Kamiah in northwest Idaho, has wreaked havoc in the small community. Nearly 45 homes have been consumed by the fire, along with 75 outhouses. Right now, that fire is at more than 43,000 acres and 25 percent contained.

According to The Spokesman-Review, the Idaho Department of Lands state Land Board received a somber assessment this morning from fire officals—that this may be the worst fire season since 1926. State Forester David Groeschl told the board that "This is an unprecedented fire season that we're seeing both in dryness, the lack of precipitation, [and] we are seeing well above-average temperatures."