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Ross Fork Fire in Sawtooth National Forest continues growing, evacuation orders still in place

Ross Fork Fire continues to grow
Ross Fork Fire
Posted at 11:47 AM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 15:14:55-04

Update: The Ross Fork Fire is now burning more than 37,000 acres but containment increased to 18%, according to an update from inciweb.

The USDA Forest Service and Idaho Department of Lands initiated Stage 1 fire restrictions on the Sawtooth North Zone on Sunday, September 11. The order encompasses lands north of Highway 20 to the northern most Sawtooth National Forest boundary

A closure order has been issued by the Sawtooth National Forest for areas surrounding the fire on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Fairfield Ranger District.

The Pettit Lake Road, Cabin Creek Road and Alturas Lake areas have had their evacuation status reduced to "SET." However, these areas are within the forest closure and are not open to the public nor homeowners.

Original: More mandatory evacuation orders have been put in place from the Ross Fork Fire for residents on both Pettit Lake Road and Cabin Creek Road.

Blaine County Sheriff's Office announced the level 3 mandatory evacuations for those in the area, residents are told to leave immediately.

Mandatory evacuations remain in place for residents in the following areas:

  • Smiley Creek
  • Sawtooth City
  • Beaver Creek
  • Alturas Lake

Highway 75 is closed from Prairie Creek Road to the Blaine/Custer County Line, according to an update from the sheriff's office.

The fire is currently burning 31,321 acres and is only 2% contained as of Wednesday evening, according to inciweb.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced more funds will be available to help crews fight the growing Ross Forks Fire.

FEMA authorized the funds Wednesday due as officials determined the fire is threatening "to cause such destruction as would constitute a major disaster." It is the second fire FEMA authorized funds for in Idaho this year, the first being the Moose fire.

The fire currently is burning more than 28,000 acres in Blaine County and is only 2% contained, with more heat and winds expected in the area Wednesday.

A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Stanley SNRA Ranger Station but will also be available on Zoom through this link. Anyone with questions on the fire can ask during the meeting or email them to 2022.rossfork@firenet.gov.

Idaho News 6 reporter Isaiah Sharp is in Blaine County with more:

Ross Fork Fire update from Idaho News 6 reporter Isaiah Sharp

Original: The Ross Fork Fire is now more than 24,000 acres, an additional 10,000 acres in growth since an update Tuesday morning.

Crews with the U.S. Forest Service report fire activity is "extreme" due to hot and dry winds accelerating its growth. The fire has now crossed over the south side of Highway 75.

The fire is burning in the Sawtooth National Forest, two miles west of Smiley Creek and one mile south of Alturas lake. Evacuation orders are in place for both Smiley Creek and Alturas Lake.

State Highway 75 is currently closed from North Fork Canyon Road to Pettit Lake Road due to high fire danger, according to Idaho 511.

The fire, which started August 14 by lightning, is currently only 4% contained.