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Pioneer Fire surges to 157,393 acres

Posted at 11:18 AM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-31 19:33:10-04

The massive Pioneer Fire, scorching rugged wilderness between Idaho City and Lowman, continues to burn -– now reaching, according to Boise National Forest officials, 157,393 acres.

The fire is about 60% contained. Officials say 1,105  personnel have been assigned to the fire, including 21 crews, nine helicopters, 44 engines, four dozers, 24 water tenders and three masticators.

The fire continues advancing to the north and northeast, growing by 16,613 acres.

Fire managers say the northern flank of the fire is in the Scott Creek and north of the Whitehawk Mountain area. The fire has reached old fire scars to the northeast near the Red Mountain area, and it is expected to slow.

Fire activity continued to burn late into the evening Tuesday, due to low relative humidity. Firefighters in the Deadwood and Bear Valley area are looking for opportunities to construct containment lines and limit additional growth.

Crews in the Archie Mountain area report they made good progress Tuesday and continue to work on hot spots near the containment line. The Charlotte Gulch area is also being worked on by crews, who say they are making good progress.

The inversion Tuesday held heavy smoke in the valleys and river drainages longer than previous days. Officials say 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.

Burning conditions Wednesday will likely be similar to Tuesday. Forecasters expect a weak cold front over the fire Thursday and Friday, which will bring cooler temperatures and higher humidity.

All current evacuation levels remain in place. 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 Temporary Flight Restriction is still in place over the fire area. 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.