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Pioneer Fire now 60,882 acres; 40 mph winds expected; Red Cross shelter re-opens to handle evacuees

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Posted at 11:49 AM, Aug 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-08 15:42:34-04

The Pioneer Fire, burning in wilderness between Idaho City and Lowman, has now scorched some 60,882 acres, according to Boise National Forest service officials.

The fire is 26 percent contained.

Currently, 1,636 personnel are on the fire.

A red flag warning is now in effect for the Pioneer Fire. The warning started Sunday at 10 a.m. and is expected to continue until 6 p.m.

Thunderstorms are predicted with winds possibly up to 40 m.p.h., officials said. Spotting of embers up to a mile are possible under these conditions, they added, especially from the Hole in the Wall area and across Highway 21 due west of Lowman.

Crews are expected to increase containment with direct line construction on the fire’s southern flank, and continue to mop-up and secure the fire’s western flank.

Pilot-car escorts from Lowman to Idaho City are scheduled for Sunday at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Highway 21 remains closed to drivers traveling from Idaho City to Lowman.

A public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday evening at the Lowman Emergency Services Building.

At the request of the Boise County Emergency Operations Center, the Red Cross will reopen our evacuation shelter at the Idaho City High School at 100 Centerville Road at noon on Sunday.

“The pilot car escorts are southbound only from Lowman to Idaho City, to help the Lowman residents who are evacuating,” said Boise County Emergency Operations Center spokeswoman Debbie Drake. “That’s why Red Cross is re-opening the shelter.”

“Right now, Lowman seems to be fairly isolated,” she added.

The area closure has expanded and can be viewed online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/boise/alerts-notices and at inciweb.nwcg.gov. Information is also available at https://www.facebook.com/Pioneer-Fire-682201165260518/ or at pioneerfire2016@gmail.com.

Indirect line construction using bulldozers continues on the fire’s northwest flank from Burns Ridge to the Payette River, and also on the northeast flank toward Big Sage Flats and the Crooked River. Burning operations will follow when containment lines are completed.

48 crews are on the fire, including ten helicopters, 54 engines, eight dozers, twenty water tenders, and six masticators.