The Moose Fire southwest of North Fork near Salmon has grown an additional 13,000 acres since Saturday.
The blaze, which is believed to be human-caused and remains under investigation, has spread to 58,168 acres. In a news release Tuesday morning, officials with the Salmon-Challis National Forest say the fire is 23% contained and is spreading on the southeast side near Stormy Peak Road west of Moose Creek, and further west along Pine Creek Ridge.
“The Williams Creek Road and the Ridge Road continue to be the primary holding line to protect the municipal watershed from the west. In Panther Creek, crews continue to improve the fire line to prevent the fire from moving to the west,” according to the news release.
The Moose Fire began on July 17. High winds, along with hot, dry conditions have been an ongoing challenge for firefighters working to protect homes and buildings in the area. Two helicopter pilots were killed last month while assisting with firefighting efforts. No other injuries have been reported.
All aircraft were grounded in the wake of the crash, but as of Tuesday morning, firefighters will begin using helicopters and airtankers again as needed.
Their main objective is to protect the Salmon community. Containing the fire on the east side above the U.S. Highway 93 corridor and Ridge Road is the primary focus.
On Monday, officials were successful in burnout operations in this area. Showers and gusty winds were helpful in clearing the smoke in the air, which helped contain the fire on the north side to prevent it from moving further south.
“Structure protection in the Shoup area and in Pine Creek continues to be successful. The north side of the fire is contained from Pine Creek east to North Fork with crews continuing to mop up and further secure the line,” fire officials say.
Smoke is expected to return Tuesday afternoon near Pine Creek Ridge, Moose Creek Drainage, and the area south of Comet Creek along Highway 93. Those with autoimmune or other health conditions may want to limit prolonged outdoor activity.
Evacuation orders in certain areas remain in effect and the Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office is asking those from Squaw Creek to Pine Creek and from North Fork to Hughes on the east and west side to prepare for the possibility of evacuation.
Salmon River Road remains closed to traffic, but a pilot car on both ends will assist those evacuating the area.
The Woodtick Fire six miles northwest of Meyers Cove in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area has increased more than 2,200 acres in the last five days growing to a total of 4,130 acres. The west side of the fire by Camas Creek is the area of immediate concern because there are threatened buildings in the area.
Firefighters are encouraged by cooler temperatures and expected thunderstorms near Camas Creek Tuesday afternoon, which they say will help them “secure the edge in a timely manner.”
An evacuation order is in effect for people living near Camas Creek and in other areas.
Officials with the Salmon-Challis National Forest are asking people to avoid flying recreational drones and to be extremely careful when recreating in the forest.
“We can all make a difference in reducing human-caused fires during this season,” officials say.