SALMON, Idaho — The Moose Fire, burning north of Salmon, Idaho has now burned 56,049 acres and is still growing. Over the weekend, officials determined the fire was human caused, but what exactly started the blaze is still under investigation.
The Moose Fire began on July 17, near the junction of Moose Creek and the Salmon River. As of Monday, it is just 23% contained.
On Sunday, temperatures and fire activity were moderated by smoke layers. By 3 p.m., the smoke lifted, increasing fire activity, with a large amount of fire growth to the south.
Firefighters used drones to remove fuels between the fire front and the large, indirect containment line — also known as the Diamond Line. Airtankers dropped retardant along this line to slow the growth of spot fires that could be started by falling embers. With high heat and low humidity, fire activity continued late into the night.
As of Monday, officials say increased fire activity is present, due to wind, high temperatures and dry fuels. Firefighters found favorable conditions in the morning, with smoke cover and a south-bound wind, but come this afternoon when the inversion lifts, fire activity will increase. Western winds will also increase fire activity, with gusts expected at 15 to 20 mph on Monday night.
Currently, 960 personnel, 19 hand crews, 60 engines and 9 helicopters are assigned to the blaze. Just days ago, a firefighting Chinook helicopter crashed, killing both pilots on board.
Residents along both sides of Hwy 93 are under an evacuation status, from Tower Creek to North Fork. Three other zones are in evacuation preparation status, which you can see here.
Officials with the Salmon-Challis National Forest will provide a Community Meeting Monday night, where they will discuss strategies and plans to protect the Salmon Municipal Watershed. You can join the meeting, here.