The Pioneer Fire, burning north of Idaho City, grew eastward Wednesday and crossed Idaho State Highway 21 north of China Creek overnight, according to Boise National Forest officials.
Crews began building containment lines around the area east of the highway late yesterday –- and continued Thursday, to try to stop the fire from moving eastward.
The fire is now 12,869 acres and 35 percent contained, officials said. A total of 983 people are assigned to the fire, including ten hotshot crews and seventeen Type 2 crews, 36 engines, ten helicopters, nine water tenders, four bulldozers and five masticators.
“To the north and south of where the fire crossed Highway 21, preparation for possible burnout operations has been completed from Banner Ridge south to Mores Creek Summit. A contingency dozer line from Pilot Peak down to Highway 21 is also finished,” said Boise National Forest spokeswoman Susan Blake.
To the north, the fire burned into the Grimes Creek area and is established in the headwaters of Rock Creek. Crews are scouting for opportunities to use natural barriers and roads, as control lines in order to keep the fire from moving north, Blake said.
Firefighters so far have been successful in protecting the Elk Creek watershed, the water source for Idaho City. The southwestern and western flanks of the fire are now in mop-up-and-patrol status.
Smoke will likely again be visible from great distances. Idaho City has not been impacted by smoke and is open to visitors.
PiuoneThe area closure order for the fire can be viewed online at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/boise/alerts-notices and inciweb.nwcg.gov.