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Light Winds and Super Scoopers Will Help Firefighters, Evacuations Remain in Effect


Fire lines are holding on the Cougar Fire—burning 811 acres three miles southwest of Warm Lake, according to a Boise National Forest news release. The fire, which continues to cause heavy smoke on Warm Lake Highway 22 and has forced the closure an area west of Warm Lake, is currently 48 percent contained with 363 personnel fighting the blaze. Fire crews are working today to eliminate hot spots on the interior of the fire and battle the unconfined east flank as soon as possible. Light winds in the forecast should give them the chance to gain the upper hand.

Smoke can be seen piling above the Tepee Springs fire camp. - INCIWEB
  • InciWeb
  • Smoke can be seen piling above the Tepee Springs fire camp.
The work facing firefighters is dangerous and safety remains a top priority in land managers' minds—especially after the deaths of three firefighters working the Twisp River Fire in Washington. According to the news release, the area along the east flank has ample tree snags, which pose a significant danger to firefighters. 

The highway to Warm Lake remains open, but it could close at any time should fire activity increase.

In the Payette National Forest, the Tepee Springs Fire, Rapid Fire and Campbells Fire continue to be the highest priorities, with no new starts in the past few days. Fire crews in those areas are also counting on lighter winds to help fire suppression efforts.

The Campbells Fire is currently estimated at 3,000 acres in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Crews are focused on protection at the Campbell's Ferry bridge and the Jim Moore place. Firefighters are also setting up structure protection of the Lemhi Bar and other nearby private property. A forest closure order is in effect, but boat traffic on the Salmon River remains unaffected.

The Tepee Springs Fire, now at 10,107 acres 20 miles south of Riggins, increased significantly from high winds. Gusts kicked up to 30 miles per hour and dry fuels in the area have led to extreme fire behavior and progress has been limited. Only 15 percent of the fire is considered contained, though 
The Canadian Super Scooper can scoop up 1,600 gallons of water—and it's here to help. - INCIWEB
  • InciWeb
  • The Canadian Super Scooper can scoop up 1,600 gallons of water—and it's here to help.
there are 476 firefighters on the job. Pre-evacuations and evacuations along Highway 95 remain in effect.

The Rapid Fire is now at 3,584 acres with only 6 percent containment. It is burning about 12 miles southeast of McCall on difficult terrain and steep slopes. Firefighters are concentrating on the west and south edges to prevent the fire from spreading into McCall and the Paddy Flat Subdivision. Two Canadian CL-415 Super Scoopers have joined in the suppression efforts. The planes are able to load up to 1,600 gallons when they skim across a body of water.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has issued a statewide burn ban. All burning outside of fire suppression activities is prohibited to maximize efforts to improve air quality. Even campfires should go unlit until air quality improves. Land managers will re-evaluate the ban on Monday, Aug. 24.