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Highline Fire

Unit Information

Payette National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
500 N Mission St.
McCall, ID 83638

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Highline Fire Facts - September 1, 2017

Highline Fire Wildfire
News – 9/1/2017

Highline Fire Update

Payette National Forest

Contact: Mike Ferris, Public Information Officer, 208-559-5367

Date: Friday, September 1, 2017

For More Information: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5500/

Highline Fire Facts

Location: The Highline Fire and 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 23 miles east/northeast of Warren, Idaho.

Date of Origin: July 28, 21017 @ approx. 7:00 p.m.

Cause: Started by lightning

Current Size: Highline Fire: 41,772 acres / Goat Fire: 236 Acres (No updated acreage available from last night)

Current Situation: The Highline and Goat fire behavior growth remains in a stable state as the fire continues to spread through backing and flanking with occasional torching as areas of fuels heat up. Heavy loading of dead and down trees with a moderate amount of regeneration make up the predominate fuels in the area. The fire is burning to the south, west and east due to the influence of West/Northwest wind at approx. 1/4 to 1/2 mile per day. Today's fire activity continues to burn toward and into the McCalla, Chamberlain and Queens drainages to the east. The northern third of the fire is relatively inactive, continuing to burn into the White Bird Meadow. To the west of the areas of Game, Flossie and Moose Creeks continue to have a backing fire through them. On the south, the fire is burning through the mature timber south of Moose Jaw Creek. The predicted weather conditions support the continued growth of the fire in all directions. The forward progression is expected to continue at a steady rate of 1/4 to 1/2 mile per burn period. Firefighters continue active point protection efforts at Root Ranch and Cold Meadows Guard Station. They are monitoring fire progression and remain prepared to initiate protection actions should the fire threaten these locations. The Lower Chamberlain Bridge has passive protection measures in place with a gravity sock, hoselays and nozzles in place to mist the bridge and adjacent fuels. Fire progression towards additional management action points and values at risk including Butts Point, Arctic, Rock Rabbit and Sheepeater Lookouts, Snowshoe Mine, Fern Creek Cabin, and identified values along the Salmon River Corridor from Lantz Bar to Corn Creek are being assessed and monitored. Chamberlain Guard Station and Stonebraker are being monitored and patrolled by air. Fire movement north and east has increased the likelihood of point protection actions at Arctic Point and Rock Rabbit Lookouts. Continued fire progression west towards Sheepeater Lookout will be closely monitored in order to determine timing and needs of unstaffing the Lookout.

Percent Containment: The Highline and Goat Fires have no current containment. They are lightning-caused, natural fires burning in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Firefighters 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 exposure, inaccessible terrain, or other limitations.

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, for the right reason. This management approach allows the Highline Fire to play its natural role in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to achieve ecological benefits for maintaining a healthy forest and enhancing habitat for wildlife, while protecting values at risk and providing for firefighter and public safety. Suppression actions will be taken where lightning 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 if threatened by the fire.

Fire Resources: Fire crews assigned include the Boise Interagency Hotshot crew, the Teton Wildland Fire Module, and the Salmon-Challis Crew #7. Crews and miscellaneous overhead are spiked-out at Root Ranch and Cold Meadows Guard Station. Firefighters may need to conduct burnout operations and point protection at these locations in order to protect Root Ranch, Cold Meadows and values along the Salmon River Corridor. Fireline leadership, safety officers and paramedics are also with the crews. Crews are being supported (food, water, equipment, supplies) with a Type 3 helicopter and fixed wing aircraft. A total of 84 personnel are assigned to the overall incident. An Incident Command Post is setup in McCall to coordinate all fire response and support actions.

Values at Risk: Root Ranch, Cold Meadows Guard Station, Lower Chamberlain Bridge, Arctic Point, Butts Point, Sheepeater and Rock Rabbit Lookouts, and values along the Salmon River corridor from Corn Creek to Lantz Bar. Threat to the historic structures at Stonebraker and Chamberlain has been reduced, but the sites remain interior of an active fire. Structures and infrastructure located along the Salmon River Corridor include the Salmon River Lodge, Corn Creek Boat Launch and Campground, Horse Creek Bridge, Stub Creek Guard Station, Lantz Bar Guard Station, and Fern Creek Cabin. 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. Point protection has been successful in safeguarding and protecting structures. No buildings or structures have been destroyed or damaged by the fire.

Fuels and Terrain: The majority of the Highline Fire is burning within fire scars from 2000. The fires are burning through a highly diverse and variable landscape. The fuels in and around the fire area can be describe as sparse grass and brush on the mid-to-lower slopes of the Salmon River; a mixture of vegetative conditions in the recent burns; and some areas of mixed conifer that hasn’t seen fire recently. Fuels in the recent burns range from sparse consisting of areas of grass and brush, to moderate where brush and regeneration has reestablished, to heavy where dead and down fuels have a high loading and are located beneath a timber canopy. The most significant fire movement has been through areas of heavy dead and down fuels in association with a timber over-story. The fire has burned very active when the following conditions occur: relative humidity less than 16%; wind gusts are greater than 20 mph; temperatures greater than 80 degrees and a Haines Index of 4 or more. Typical burn periods are from mid-day to early evening.

Injuries: None to-date

Closures: The Chamberlain Airstrip is closed due to fire activity. A Forest Area Closure Order is also in effect for the Highline Fire area. Please visit the following link for the Highline Fire Area Closure Order: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/payette/alerts-notices.

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. There are no fire restrictions in the Frank Church River or No Return Wilderness. For more information: http://www.idahofireinfo.com/p/wilderness-fire-restrictions.html.

For More Information: Follow the Payette National Forest on Twitter at @Payette Forest, and on Facebook at U.S. Forest Service – Payette National Forest. Subscribe to email updates via GovDelivery at https://goo.gl/R2fDJr. If you have a question, please email us at payettefireinformation@gmail.com. Visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5500/ for more information on the Highline and other fires throughout the nation and www.idahofireinfo.com for information on fires throughout the state of Idaho.

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