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Pioneer Fire jumps to 140,000 acres

Posted at 12:30 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 00:12:12-04

The huge Pioneer Fire, burning in rugged wilderness north of Idaho City, has grown to a whopping 140,000 acres. As of Monday, it had burned 111,000 acres.

So far, almost 2,000 personnel are battling the fire, along with 24 crews, 9 helicopters, 50 engines, 4 dozers, 25 water tenders and 4 masticators.

A Red Flag warning is in effect Tuesday with south winds estimated at 15-20 mph, temperatures in the nineties, relative humidity in single digits, and very unstable air, officials said.

Fire managers say the blaze is moving in a north/northeast direction away from critical areas -- and toward fire scars that will help confine the fire. No significant moisture is expected in the near future, officials said.

Smoke from the fire will continue to impact the communities of Garden Valley, Lowman and Stanley and the surrounding areas. Air quality is being monitored, and the daily outlook for the region is published online at: idsmoke.blogspot.com.

Boise National Forest service personnel say the fire made a significant advance to the northeast and grew by 29,176 acres.

The northern flank of the fire is now estimated to run from Meadow Camp Creek on the west, through the Lorenzo Creek drainage and continuing northwest to the Whitehawk Creek area.

Additionally, the fire in Clear creek moved into the headwaters of Long Creek towards Miller Mountain. This fire activity produced a very large column of smoke visible from many miles away.

However, it is far from any critical infrastructure or structures, with the closest edge approximately nine miles north of Kirkham Hot Springs and moving northeast. Crews continue to work in the Long Creek area, strengthening lines and removing excess fuels, keeping the Summer Homes safe and preventing the fire from moving south.

Additionally, crews are progressing north along Deadwood ridge, constructing a contingency line to confine the fire from moving west in the Nellies Creek area. A flare-up also occurred east of Archie Mountain. Due to its proximity to the fire’s perimeter, action was taken by retardant aircraft to cool the flames and keep containment in that area.

The public is reminded that there is a Temporary Flight Restriction over the fire area. That means private and commercial aircraft as well as privately-owned drones are prohibited from entering the restricted air space. Fire suppression aircraft may be grounded if unauthorized aircraft or drones are observed in the air space. 

All current evacuation levels remain in place, officials said. A Level 2 evacuation designation is still in effect for the summer homes located in the Long Creek area along Forest Road 582 (Bear Valley). A Level 1 designation remains in effect for all of the properties in Pioneerville, as well as those in the Lowman area. Level 1 is also in place for homes located in the South Fork Road area, east of Grimes Creek and along the South Fork Payette River.

A Pioneer Fire Information Community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday August 31, 2016, from 7-8 p.m. at the Lowman EMS building.