A cold front moved into southwest Idaho Sunday, increasing cloud cover and lowering temperatures -- good news for crews battling the Pioneer Fire.
The Fire, burning in rugged terrain and thick timber between Idaho City and Lowman, has now charred some 185,895 acres and is about 56% contained, officials said. Some 1,033 personnel are assigned to the fire, which involves 27 crews, nine helicopters, 21 engines, three dozers, six water tenders and one masticator.
North to northwest winds are ushering in cooler temperatures that will help raise relative humidity values in the coming days. This increase in surface moisture will also raise precipitation chances into the mid-week, according to a Boise National Forest news release. As a result, fuel moisture values will slowly rebound -- which crews hope will greatly aids in reducing fire activity.
Crews continue to construct indirect fire lines along National Forest System Roads 591 and 579, east and northeast of Deadwood Reservoir. Heavier fuels are being removed along these indirect fire lines.
In addition, hose lines are in place if needed as reinforcement to curtail potential fire activity. Heavy equipment is also being used to reduce the amount of hazardous trees and the risk of firefighters being injured.
Fire in the Miller Mountain and Long Creek area is slowly burning into the Lowman Fire burn scar where fuels are sparse and broken, which is expected to also limit fire activity.
All other existing fire lines are holding and will be monitored in the coming days.
Officials point out suppression repair is nearly complete on the southern portion of the fire, south of Highway 17, with only a few spots needing additional clean-up. Crews positioned on the southern portion of the fire will continue to monitor containment lines and will be available for any initial attacks, such more fires break out.
Officials do not expect additional closures in the Boise National Forest. The current closure status is available on online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/boise/alerts-notices.