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95,490 acres burned by the Woodhead fire, 39% contained

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Posted at 9:20 AM, Sep 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 11:29:44-04

CAMBRIDGE, Idaho — UPDATE (9:30 a.m., 9/17): Officials say the Woodhead fire was moderately active Wednesday due to strong inversion. The limited fire behavior caused some tree torching, leading to embers igniting vegetation in front of the main fire.

The fire is spreading to the north and east in a mosaic pattern, allowing for some vegetation to remain after the fire moves through. Structure protection is a top priority and firefighters are still evaluating structures and providing protection.

Weather will be a concern for firefighters over the next few days. A Red Flag Warning as been issued for both today and Friday because of atmospheric instability. Red Flag Warnings indicate weather conditions favorable for large fire growth. A low-pressure system and cold front are expected to move through the fire area. Before the front arrives, increasing clouds, cool temperatures, and high winds with gust up to 30 mph are expected. Dry thunderstorms are a threat for late Friday afternoon.

EVACUATIONS – Evacuations are in place for Seid Creek, East Pine/Pine Estates, Advent Gulch, upper Rush Creek, Cow Creek, Upper Dale, Paradise Flat, North Hornet, and West Mill Creek. Residents may be escorted in to care for animals; contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 208.414.2121 or the Adams County Sheriff at 208.253.4227. The Red Cross is available at 800.853.2570 to assist evacuees.

CLOSURES – The Council-Cuprum Road is closed at Mile Marker 12. Highway 71, between Cambridge and Gateway, is open to through traffic only. All roads off Highway 71 remain closed. The Payette National Forest has issued an area closure for the safety of firefighters and the public. The full closure area description and map are available on the InciWeb website.

The Idaho Department of Lands is asking people to stay out of the endowment lands west of Council for their safety until further notice. This affects about 30,000 acres that are commonly used for hunting this time of year.

UPDATE (9:00 a.m., 9/16): As of 8:57 p.m. on 9/15, the Woodhead fire has burned 79,384 acres and is 38 percent contained. The fire was active on Wednesday with torching and spotting with short uphill runs, mostly on the north and northeast flanks.

Fire officials say there was an inversion over the fire for most of the day. There is gradual warming forecasted for today with light wind and low humidity, with identical conditions expected for Thursday. An upcoming low may bring late afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms on Friday.

The Payette National Forest Supervisor put out an update to the closure in the area. You can read more about that here.

UPDATE (10:20 a.m., 9/15): The Woodhead fire has burned 68,365 acres and is 32 percent contained as of 7:42 Monday evening. The cause of the fire is still unknown and is under investigation.

Fire activity increased Monday with higher winds, hotter temperatures and low relative humidity. Officials say fire growth was mostly on the northeast side, prompting evacuations for residents above Upper Dale, Paradise Flat, North Hornet and West Mill Creek.

The weather is expected to be calmer with warmer temperatures and lighter winds today. A cold front is expected later this week.

According to the Idaho Transportation Department, ID-71 has re-opened to traffic as crews continue to battle the Woodhead fire. Road guards may remain in place on each end of the fire area to warn travelers of falling rocks, equipment working next to the roadway and possible delays. Travelers are asked to go slow, look out for firefighters and keep headlights on through the fire area.

While containment percentage went down due to the increase in size, firefighters continue to improve and create containment lines on the fire perimeter yesterday. Most of the western perimeter has now been contained and the heel of the fire, near Cambridge, is mostly contained as well. Firefighters continue to monitor the area and mop up any interior hot spots.

The portion of the Andrus Wildlife Management Area (WMA) north and east of Highway 71 is closed to all public entry due to the Woodhead fire and public safety concerns. The fire has burned more than 5,000 acres of the Andrus WMA.

EVACUATIONS – Evacuations are in place for Seid Creek, East Pine/Pine Estates, Advent Gulch, upper Rush Creek, Cow Creek, Upper Dale, Paradise Flat, North Hornet and West Mill Creek. Residents may be escorted in to care for animals; contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 208.414.2121 or the Adams County Sheriff at 208.253.5227. The Red Cross is available at 800.853.2570 to assist evacuees.

CLOSURES – Arterial roads leading from Highway 71 between West Pine Creek and the Oregon state line are still closed. The Payette National Forest has issued an area closure for the safety of firefighters and the public. The full closure area description and map are available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/7163/.

UPDATE (12:41 p.m., 9/14): Due to an increase in fire activity overnight, more closures and evacuations are being put in place by the Adams County Sheriff's Office. The Council-Cuprum Road is closed at Council to the public, only local residents will be allowed through.

The road is closed completely at Upper Dale and campers and recreationists are being evacuated from the area. Full evacuations are now happening for residents above Upper Dale, including Paradise Flat, North Hornet and West Mill Creek. Residents should follow directions from the Adams County Sheriff's Office.

ORIGINAL STORY (9/14): The Woodhead Fire burning 20 miles northwest of Cambridge has grown to 48,477 acres and 40% of the perimeter is contained. The estimated containment date is October 1.

The daily update on the Woodhead Fire says activity increased late Sunday when the smoke lifted enough to break the inversion and provide air to the fire. The grown was on the north side toward Cuddy Mountain and up Cracker Jack Creek.

294 people are working the fire with four helicopters, 17 engines, six crews and three dozers.

Fire officials said the fire burned actively through the night and the temperature today is expected to be warm with light winds. A cold front is expected later this week with a chance for moisture.

Highway 71 is back open but road guards may remain in place on each end of the fire area to warn travelers of falling rocks, equipment working near the roadway and possible delays. Travelers are asked to travel slowly, look out for firefighters and keep headlights on through the fire area.

The update says most of the western perimeter has now been contained. The fire is leaving patches of unburned vegetation and burns intensely in other areas. Smoke and fire activity may be visible in the interior, unburned areas of the fire in the next few days. Firefighters will monitor all contained sections of the fireline.

Aviation resources were not able to fly Sunday due to the dense smoke in the area. The smoke will be present again on Monday but may begin to break tomorrow. As it does, it allows aviation to support firefighters, but it also causes an increase in fire activity.

Team #4 is working closely with the Washington County Sheriff, Idaho Department of Lands, Boise District Bureau of Land Management and Payette National Forest to evaluate the potential for continued fire growth and determine the best actions to contain the fire safely. As the fire continues to grow towards the Cuddy Mountains there are opportunities to use natural features as fire breaks, according to the daily update.

EVACUATIONS – Evacuations are in place for Seid Creek, East Pine/Pine Estates, Advent Gulch, upper Rush Creek, and Cow Creek. Residents may be escorted in to care for animals; contact the Washington County Sheriff’s Office at 208.414.2121. The Red Cross is available at 800.853.2570 to assist evacuees.

CLOSURES – Arterial roads leading from Highway 71 between West Pine Creek and the Oregon state line are still closed. The Payette National Forest has issued an area closure for the safety of firefighters and the public. The full closure area description and map are available at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/closures/7163/.