The Pioneer Fire, burning in rugged terrain some seven miles north of Idaho City, has now grown to 877 acres, according Boise National Forest officials.
“This has precipitated the expansion of the closure area for the Boise National Forest and the implementation of contingency planning for fire suppression,” said Boise National Forest spokeswoman Susan Blake. These contingency actions include preparing part of the Highway 21 corridor as a potential control line, Blake explained. “Crews are removing trees and brush in an effort to reduce the potential for fire spread, while still maintaining the scenic drive nature of the road. Heavy equipment, chippers, and crews will be working along the roadway,” she stated.
Fire fighters continue to make good progress on the rest of the fire especially on the south, west, southeast, and southwest flanks of the fire. The Elk Creek watershed is still secured, protecting the Idaho City water supply.
“A warming trend is expected to continue into the near future and will result in more active burning conditions. As the fire spreads, it is anticipated that the smoke will continue to be seen throughout a large area including Boise, Cascade, Lowman and beyond,” said Blake.
The 4,602 acre fire is 32 percent contained and now has 853 personnel engaged in the suppression action, authorities said.
The actions include the use of ten helicopters (which are doing bucket drops), 27 crews, ten of which are Type 1 “hotshot” crews due to the rugged terrain where the fire is burning. Twenty-one fire engines, four dozers, and nine water tenders are also assigned.
A community meeting is scheduled Tuesday evening from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Lowman Emergency Services Building, some seven miles east of Lowman on Highway 21.
Forest closures are in effect and are subject to change periodically. Current information can be viewed online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/boise/alerts-notices and at inciweb.nwcg.gov.
Forest officials are reminding drone owners that flying drones is strictly forbidden within the fire area, including the area designated as a Temporary Flight Restriction.