The Good News: Pioneer Fire now 50% contained. The Bad News: it's still growing

Posted at 8:52 AM, Aug 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-16 10:52:31-04

Officials say the Pioneer Fire, some eight miles north of Idaho City, has now burned 76,980 acres -- an increase of 3,622 acres -- and is 50% contained.

Motorists are advised that Highway 21 is still impacted by smoke and to drive with caution in the area. On Monday, power to Lowman was interrupted by fire activity and heavy smoke near the river corridor.

Almost 1,800 personnel have been assigned to the Pioneer Fire. Tuesday’s assigned resources include 51 hand crews, eleven helicopters, 72 engines, ten dozers, nineteen water tenders, and seven masticators.

On the north flank of the fire, north of the Payette River, firefighters have built containment lines along the western edge in preparation for fire spreading.

West winds pushed the fire further over Deadwood Ridge and eastward toward Clear Creek, where crews are preparing Forest Road 582 to serve as a fuel break.

On the northwest flank of the fire, firefighters completed the burnout operation down to the South Fork Payette River; Tuesday's focus will be on containing a 100-acre slop over. A couple of existing dozer lines that were used for the Calder Fire (back in 2014) are planned as contingency lines to the west.

On the northeast flank, firefighters have made good progress with burnout operations. The fire will continue to burn relatively heavy fuels in the Jenny Lake area for the next several days. Two adjacent burn scars will keep the fire's progression in check to the south and east. Structure protection is in place for Lohman and all affected residences east of Grimes Pass Road and south of the South Fork Payette River.