Highline Fire Update
Payette National Forest
Fire Information Office, Payette National Forest
Contact: Mike Ferris, Public Information Officer, 208-559-5367
Date: Wednesday, August 23, 2017
For More Information: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5500/
Highline Fire Facts
Location: The Highline Fire and the Goat Fire are both burning on the Payette National Forest, Krassel Ranger District, entirely within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness (https://tinyurl.com/y8qomgpm), approximately four miles north of Chamberlain Basin.
Date of Origin: July 28, 21017 @ 7:00 p.m.
Cause: Started by lightning
Current Size: Highline Fire: 24,334 acres / Goat Fire 41 Acres
Percent Containment: The Highline Fire and Goat Fire have no current containment. They are lightning-caused, natural fires burning in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Firefighters on scene are conducting point protection which is a wildfire response strategy that protects specific assets or highly valued resources from the wildfire without directly halting the continued spread of the wildfire. Points or zones being protected may be communities, individual structures, areas of high resource value, etc. Continued wildfire spread may be desirable in order to achieve management objectives or may be inevitable due to extreme burning conditions, safety concerns to firefighter risk and exposure, remote and inaccessible terrain, or other limitations.
Current Situation: A Red Flag Warning for lightning and critical fire weather is in effect from 3 p.m. Wednesday till 3 a.m. Thursday. The Highline Fire activity was subdued yesterday as an inversion was in place over most of the fire area and kept fire growth and behavior to a minimum. The inversion also limited aircraft use for reconning the fire and supporting the firefighters in the field. What little fire activity there was, was limited to the southern half of the fire area. The northern portion of the fire continues to creep and smolder with no discernable spread. The fire continues to mostly back to the west, south and east. The fire is expected to advance up to one half mile today where it aligns with slope and wind. Weather conditions remain warm and dry. The fire continues burning through a mosaic of burn scars and timber stringers. There is a heavy accumulation of dead and down fuels resulting in areas of high intensity surface fire and some over-story torching. Yesterday the fire spotting was limited and confined to short range, out to one tenth of a mile. Point protection efforts will continue at the Chamberlain and Cold Meadows Guard Stations, Lower Chamberlain Bridge, and Root Ranch. Stonebraker Ranch remains in a patrol and monitor status. Firefighters will also begin assessment efforts to develop a point protection plan for Butts Point Lookout. Crews will also begin breaking down equipment at Chamberlain Guard Station as the fire threat to the Station has diminished. Firefighters will continue to monitor the fire progression towards Lower Chamberlain Bridge, Butts Point Lookout, Arctic Lookout, Rock Rabbit Lookout and values along the Salmon River Corridor in the event the Highline and/or Goat Fire spreads toward these values. The Goat Fire grew by 10 acres yesterday and is currently at 41 acres and will continue to be monitored be aerial surveillance weather permitting.
Fire Management Strategy: The Payette National Forest has selected a monitor/point protection fire management strategy as the fire is burning within the wilderness, started naturally by lightning and burning in the right place, at the right time, with the right resources. This approach allows the Highline Fire to play its natural ecological role in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to the greatest extent possible while protecting the known values at risk and providing for firefighter and public safety. Suppression actions will be taken where lightning-caused fires pose serious threats to life and/or property within wilderness or to life, property or natural resources outside of wilderness. Monitoring and point protection will continue to be the course of action and point protection will be implemented for values at risk should they become threatened.
Fire Resources Assigned: Fire crews that are on scene include the Snake River Interagency Hotshot crew and the Boise Type 2 Initial Attack crew. Both crews and miscellaneous overhead are spiked-out (24-hours on-scene because of the remote nature of the fire location in the wilderness) at the Chamberlain Guard Station, Cold Meadows Guard Station and Root Ranch. Crews are conducting point protection and burnout operations if necessary at these locations in order to protect the Chamberlain Airstrip, Chamberlain Guard Station, Root Ranch and Cold Meadows Guard Station structures and facilities. In addition to these crews, there is also fireline leadership and paramedics with the crews. Crews are being supported (food, water, equipment, supplies) with a Type 3 helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. Total of 71 personnel including crews and miscellaneous overhead are assigned.
Structures Threatened - Values at Risk: Chamberlain Guard Station, Root Ranch, Cold Meadows Guard Station, Arctic Point Lookout, Lower Chamberlain Bridge, Butts Point Lookout, Rabbit Rock Lookout, value along the Salmon Rover corridor and heritage and natural resource values within the Wilderness. Point protection at Chamberlain Guard Station, Stonebraker Ranch and Root Ranch has been successful in safe guarding and protecting structures and will continue to be the strategy for protecting values at risk. Historic structures at Stonebraker Ranch includes: one residence, three cabins, one bath house, four sheds, one historic barn and an airstrip. Historic structures at Chamberlain Guard Station includes: seven cabins, four outbuildings and a public airstrip. Root Ranch is a private inholding with 12 structures including: the main cabin, sleeping quarters, cookhouse building, airstrip, and various outbuildings. Cold Meadows Guard Station has five administrative buildings at the site. No buildings or structures have been destroyed or damaged by the fire.
Fuels/Terrain: Fire is burning in a patchwork of mixed conifer stands, both within and outside of old fire scars. Timber types are a mixture of lodgepole pine/subalpine fir at higher elevations and ponderosa pine on lower or more exposed southern/western aspects. Most of the area within and around the fire area has previously been burned. This has resulted in a significant amount of dead and down fuels. Regeneration of timber has been ongoing. Therefore, fuels vary dramatically from site to site. Expect areas of unburned timber intermixed with areas of dead/down fuel beds some of which are overtopped with regeneration. The general area is composed of rolling topography bisected with deeper drainages and lots of wetter riparian seeps springs and meadows.
Closures: The Chamberlain Airstrip is closed due to fire activity. A Forest Area Closure Order is also in effect for the Highline Fire area. For more information on the Highline Fire Area Closure Order, go to: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/5500/38216/. For a map of the Highline Fire Area Closure, go to: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/map/5500/1/68941/.
Fire Restrictions: The Payette National Forest is under STAGE 1 FIRE RESTRICTIONS. Click this link for designated sites where campfires are allowed. If a site is not signed as being a designated site, then campfires are not allowed at that site.
For More Information: Highline Fire InciWeb page: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5500/. Members of the public interested in receiving fire information updates are asked to send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow the Payette National Forest on Twitter at @Payette Forest and on Facebook at U.S. Forest Service – Payette National Forest.