Rains Slow Ross Fork Fire, Full Containment Weeks Away
SMILEY CREEK, Idaho (KLIX)-Fire crews are taking advantage of rains that have eased some fire activity on the Ross Fork Fire north of Ketchum. The U.S. Forest Service-Sawtooth National Forest says 3/10" of rain came down on the fire area between Monday and Tuesday slowing fire growth on the lightning caused fire that started in mid-August. Fire officials say the Ross Fork Fire has charred around 37,731 acres and is only 19 percent contained. Officials say the recent rains will help prevent grasses and brush from burning if it doesn't dry out. However, many areas of the fire continue to burn with intense heat and are not expected to ease until heavy rainfall or snowfall.
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are in effect on the Sawtooth North Zone, including state managed lands, that encompass areas North of State Highway 20 to the north boundaries of the Sawtooth National Forest. The restrictions prevent campfires from being used outside of designated campsites and campfire structures or manufactured stoves. See Stage 1 Restrictions rules.
Drones in the Way
Forest officials say drones have come close to firefighting aircraft in the past few days. One incident involved a drone that got too close to a helicopter. There is currently a Temporary Flight Restriction for all aircraft, including drones, around the Ross Fork Fire. Forest officials say drones can pose a risk to the aircraft crews as well as fire crews on the ground. Anyone caught interfering with firefighting efforts can face a year in jail and up to $20,000 in civil penalties.
The 702 people fighting the fire will use the low fire behavior to focus on building up containment lines, removing hazardous trees along the fire lines and roads, as well as start to repair three total miles of bulldozer lines. A total of seven helicopters and 47 fire engines are being used to fight the Ross Fork Fire.
Closures and Evacuations in Place
A Forest Closure is still in effect for areas surrounding the fire activity that prevent the use of roads and trails to the general public. Evacuation orders for the Pettit Lake Road, Cabin Creek Road and Alturas Lake are now under a "SET" evacuation notice, meaning people need to be ready to move at a moments notice. However, as noted, the areas are still off-limits to the public. The small community of Smiley Creek and Sawtooth City are still under evacuation orders. State Highway 75, the main roadway through the area, has been open but could be closed at any moment depending on fire activity. Go to 511.idaho.gov for the latest road conditions and status.
2017 McLaren 570GT For Sale on Facebook