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Woodhead fire estimated at 41, 850 acres, 22% contained

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Woodhead fire
Posted at 10:31 AM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-13 20:14:05-04

CAMBRIDGE, Idaho — Update (9/13, 11:10 a.m.): The Woodhead fire is now burning 41,850 acres, but firefighters continue to make good progress containing the perimeter, securing private property, and reinforcing firelines.

Highway 71 has reopened to residents only, and evacuations are lifted for the highway corridor. All arterial roads remain closed, and Highway 71 is still closed to the public from Hansen Lane to the Oregon state line. Residents should expect delays along the Highway, with some fire activity, rolling rocks, and firefighters and firefighting equipment near the highway.

Winds are expected to increase to 10 mph with gust up to 25 mph. This system will continue to bring in smoke from Oregon and California fires, causing smoke levels to deteriorate to unhealthy levels for all people. If you are in a smoke sensitive group, avoid outside activities after noon. Go to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality site, for more information on health issues and wildland fire smoke.

EVACUATIONS – Evacuations are in place for Seid Creek, East Pine/Pine Estates, Advent Gulch, upper Rush Creek, and Cow Creek. Residents may be escorted in to care for animals; contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 208.414.2121. Evacuees should contact the American Red Cross at 800.853.2570 for shelter and assistance.

CLOSURES – The Payette National Forest has issued an area closure for the safety of firefighters and the public. The full closure area description and map are available here.

UPDATE (9/11, 1:45 p.m.): The Woodhead fire burning near Cambridge is now at 40,259, but officials say the growth of about 12,000 acres is mostly the result of more accurate mapping. Fire activity increased around midday on Thursday, due to inversion starting to break.

With record temperatures and stronger gusts in the forecast for Sunday, it could be another critical fire weather day. Firefighters will work to contain as much of the fire as possible before then.

The areas of concern for firefighters today will be the southwest section, where the fire crossed Highway 71 near Mill Creek, and the southern edge, nearest the community of Cambridge. Firefighters want to minimize additional fire spread on the south side of Highway 71. Helicopter use to support firefighters working on the ground has been limited because of the smoky conditions, according to a news update.

Team 4 will constantly evaluate road closures and evacuations and recommend reopening as soon as it is safe to do so. Utility equipment and firefighting vehicles are actively working along Highway 71. Evacuations will be lifted by the Washington County Sheriff once fire managers are certain the fire perimeter near private property is contained. Much of that section of the fire is in grass and brush, where fire spread quickly but is also more easily suppressed.

EVACUATIONS – Evacuations are in place for Goodrich, Grizzly Creek, Cow Creek, Rush Creek, East Pine, Advent Gulch, Woodhead, West Fork, Seid Creek, Highway 71 corridor, and Mill Creek and Horse Flat Roads. Residents may be escorted in to care for animals; contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 208.414.2121. Evacuees may go to the Cambridge High School Gym. The Red Cross is available at 800-853-2570 for assistance.

CLOSURES – Highway 71 remains closed between Cambridge and the Oregon state line. The Payette National Forest will has issued an area closure for the safety of firefighters and the public. The full closure area description and map are available at on the Inciweb website.

UPDATE (9/10, 1:30 a.m.): Great Basin Team #4 assumed command of the Woodhead Fire. A fire camp is in place at the Washington County Fairgrounds to support the firefighters assigned to the Woodhead Fire. Be aware of increased traffic in and around Cambridge from firefighter and support vehicles and equipment.

Priorities for the Woodhead Fire include protecting private property, infrastructure, and livestock forage. Timber values on state and private lands and shrub stands in the Cecil Andrus Wildlife Management Area are also valuable resources to be protected. Assessments are ongoing to determine the number of structures lost or damaged.

The fire has now burned 27,228 acres and is zero percent contained. Four helicopters, seven engines, three crews, two dozers and 196 total personnel are working the fire. The cause remains unknown.

EVACUATIONS – Evacuations are in place for Goodrich, Grizzly Creek, Cow Creek, Rush Creek, East Pine, Advent Gulch, Woodhead, West Fork, Seid Creek, Highway 71 corridor, and Mill Creek and Horse Flat Roads. Residents may be escorted in to care for animals; contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 208-414-2121. Evacuees may go to the Cambridge High School Gym.

CLOSURES – Highway 71 remains closed between Cambridge and the Oregon state line. The Payette National Forest will issue an area closure for the safety of firefighters and the public. More information and a map will be available once the closure order is finalized.

UPDATE (9/9, 4:15 p.m.): The Red Cross of Idaho is providing help to families in Washington County who had to evacuate because of the Woodhead fire burning near Cambridge.

The communities of Seid Creek, Pine Creek Estates, Advent Gulch, Rush Creek, West Pine Road and Mill Creek Road areas have all been asked to leave. Additional evacuations also were ordered for the Cemetery Road, Cow Creek and Goodrich areas.

The Red Cross is providing lodging, food, information, emotional support and access to mental health services and other resources. The services are free and available to everyone. If you need help, call the Red Cross at 800-853-2570.

ORIGINAL STORY: The Woodhead fire burning north of Cambridge is estimated at 20,000 acres as of 6:15 Wednesday morning. According to officials with the Payette National Forest, firefighters worked overnight along the Horse Flat road, attempting to hold the fire to the north.

Firefighters are using a direct attack on the south side of the fire, working towards Rush Creek. A team of municipal fire engines is working on the northern outskirts of Cambridge, east of Rush Creek Road to conduct structure protection. An overview of the fire on Inciweb says a power outage from a burned power pole is impacting 40 customers in the fire area.

Evacuations are in place for the areas of West Pine Road, Mill Creek Road, Cemetery Road, Rush Creek and Goodrich areas in Cambridge, in addition to Pine Creek, Seid Creek, and Advent Gulch. The Washington County Sheriff's Office says the Cambridge high School gym is open for any displaced residents.

The cause of the Woodhead fire is unknown and under investigation. The fire is burning in grass, brush and timber.