Salmon-Challis National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
1206 S. Challis Street
Salmon, ID 83467
The Central Idaho Dispatch Zone is at EXTREME Fire Danger.
The lightning caused Kiwah Fire, was detected at approximately 5:30 p.m. on July 17, 2018. Fire managers estimate size at 14,603 acres. The fire is burning in a mixed conifer forest on the Middle Fork Ranger District and is being allowed to play, as nearly as possible, its natural ecological role in the environment while providing for firefighter and public safety. The fire is located in steep, inaccessible terrain northwest of Indian Creek Guard Station within the Indian Creek drainage in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Fire activity remains minimal on all sides of the fire. Fire managers on the west side continue to monitor the fire activity on the northwest side of the fire and near Meadow Creek Road on the Payette National Forest. Fire managers continue to monitor progress on the east side of the fire by aircraft.
The Payette National Forest, Krassel Ranger District, Kiwah Fire Emergency Road Closure: #0412-524 has been terminated. Safety risks are reduced, but people in the fire area need to be aware that hazards still exist, including, but not limited to unexpected fire movement, falling trees, ash pits, and debris slides. The Salmon-Challis National Forest, Middle Fork Ranger District, Kiwah Fire Emergency Trail Closure Order #04-13-18-600 remains in place at this time. With moderated fire behavior and cooler weather conditions, the trails closures continue to be evaluated. The closure order is on Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/5995/.
Fire management is being coordinated between the Salmon-Challis and the Payette National Forests. The Kiwah Fire is being managed to restore and maintain ecological process consistent with the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Management Plan. A priority of fire mangers is providing employee and public safety while defending the identified values at risk. Specific values potentially threatened with this fire include private property and mining infrastructure, Forest Service Guard Stations, Middle Fork Salmon River boat traffic, road and trail improvements, lookout buildings, communication sites, and cultural resources. The cultural resources are abandoned, historical mining structures.
Firefighters are implementing a point protection strategy. A point protection strategy is a wildfire response strategy, which protects specific assets or highly valued resources from the wildfire without directly halting the continued spread of the wildfire. The strategy takes in to account exposure to firefighters, values at risk, impacts to area user groups, and in the case of the Kiwah Fire, wilderness values. The selected point protection strategy was determined to best balance for protection of values and firefighter safety.
To date firefighters have created protection plans for the Stibnite Mine Site, Thunder Mountain, Indian Creek Guard station, and Pistol Creek Ranch areas. To date, significant progress has been made to implement these protection plans, with point protection measures in place on both the Salmon-Challis and Payette National Forests. The fire will continue to be monitored for fire spread in the direction of these values. There are five (5) firefighters assigned to the Kiwah Fire. Work will continue into the coming weeks.
Firefighters and fire managers will continue to utilize the resources available complete the needed work as efficiently as possible. Fire managers expect the Kiwah Fire will continue to spread until a significant precipitation event occurs. Typically, season-ending weather events occur in this area between the last half of September through the first half of October.
A low-pressure system will deepen over the region into Monday with gusty winds and increasing precipitation chances beginning tonight. Snow levels drop to about 9,000 feet Monday as cooler temperatures settle into the region as well. Wetting rains will be possible, with potential for isolated thunderstorms Monday afternoon that may locally enhance precipitation totals. Drier conditions arrive Monday night through mid-week.
Nationally, there are 48 uncontained large fires in the west managed under a full suppression strategy, and 66 large fires managed under a strategy other than full suppression. These fires are contributing to the smoke, which is drifting into the valleys surrounding Salmon and Challis.
This will be the last regular update for the Kiwah Fire. Updates and information will be provided as significant changes occur. The Kiwah Fire is on Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5995/. Updates are also posted on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/salmonchallisnf, and on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/SalmonChallisNF.