Fire investigators have determined that the still-growing Moose Fire was ignited by people.
The announcement was made by Salmon-Challis National Forest officials Saturday, but no other information about the cause has been revealed. Officials say the specific cause and events leading up to the fire are still under investigation, and further information will be available as the inquiry unfolds.
The blaze, which started on July 17, has now burned 45,113 acres — nearly 70 miles — of brush, timber and grass. It is 17 percent contained as of Saturday morning. The fire is burning five miles southwest of North Fork near Salmon.
Two helicopter pilots were killed earlier this month while assisting with firefighting efforts. But so far, no other injuries have been reported.
Thunderstorms on Friday brought increased fire activity throughout the region, but fortunately, fire spread in critical areas of the fire was kept to a minimum, according to a forest service news release.
Along the U.S. Highway 93 corridor firefighters continued to reinforce containment lines in the Diamond Creek drainage area and completed a 6-mile hose lay that will assist firefighters in holding actions if the fire continues to move south.
Fire activity continued in the late evening in Bobcat Gulch and in Comet Gulch. On the western side of the fire, the fire burned around the Shoup store and to the base of Pine Creek. Structure protection measures prevented the loss of buildings in the Shoup area.
The focus for Saturday continues to be concentrated on structure protection along U.S. Highway 93 and a concerted effort in Diamond Creek, as the primary holding line to prevent the fire from moving farther south.
Saturday’s forecast does not call for thunderstorms in the area, but hot and dry conditions will continue making fuels more susceptible to active burning conditions.
For information about evacuation orders in the areaclick here.
For information about road closures in the area click here.
The Salmon-Challis National Forest would like to remind forest visitors to be careful with all potential sources of wildfire ignition during this period of hot, dry conditions. Be mindful of parking vehicles in flammable vegetation and the use and disposal of cigarettes. Take care to secure items on trailers and truck beds, including chains and other metal objects. Always ensure to drown and thoroughly stir campfires prior to your departure.