Crews keeping a close eye on the Halstead Fire
Fire crews and managers are keeping a close eye on the Halstead Fire, burning three miles north of Stanley, in the Salmon-Challis National Forest
According to officials, the fire didn’t move much in the Marsh Creek or Sea Foam area.
There was some minor tree torching, they say, which means trees burn from the ground up like matchsticks, as it creeped downhill. There was also considerable activity in the Pinyon Peak area. The fire jumped over the ridge and made a push into the bowl where it is burning a stand of timber. The fire was progressing towards the Lost Packer mine.
Firefighters also did aerial ignition that was visible from Highway 21. The aircraft dropped plastic spherical devices (PSDs) nicknamed “ping-pong balls” which are specially-designed to start fire on the landscape in a random, scattered, mosaic pattern. This aerial-ignited fire helps by burning some of the fuels before the main front of the fire reaches it, exoperts say.
Firefighters were also holding the fire near Sunbeam. They found three more spot fires across the Yankee Fork road and were able to get on them before they grew. There was some rollout that was affecting Highway 75 yesterday afternoon. Roll out is where partially burned logs and debris fall off the ridges and into areas below. Yesterday, the roll out was falling onto Highway 75.
Firefighters will continue to monitor the fire in the basin above the Lost Packer mine and take action as necessary. Helicopters will be utilized for aerial reconnaissance and for cooling the fire that crests the ridge tops along the highway. Burnout operations will continue, especially in the Valley Creek area as firefighters try to make an area of black, and burned fuels that will serve as a line to hold the fire back. These burnout areas will tie into dozer lines help keep the fire away from the highway, private land and structures.
Vehicles on the portion of Highway 75 between Stanley and Challis will be escorted by a pilot car. The affected section is from Stanley to Peach Creek (mile marker 206.6). Smoke, fire equipment and potential falling debris from the Halstead Fire has necessitated this action to protect motorists’ safety. Escorted traffic will continue until fire conditions change.
The lightning-caused fire has burned over 128,000 acres.
So far, 541 personnel, including 6 hand crews, 32 engines and 7 helicopters are attacking the fire.
A Community Meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Stanley Community Center, to update residents on the fire situation.
(photo: courtesy inciweb.org)