Structure protection in Shoup off River Road. This is near Pine Creek, which experienced the most fire activity on Friday. | Brian Scott, Salmon-Challis National Forest
SALMON – Though thunderstorms and favorable weather conditions over the last several days have helped firefighters partially contain the Moose Fire 17 miles north of Salmon, the blaze continues to grow.
A news release from the Salmon-Challis National Forest Saturday morning indicates the human-caused fire is now up to 77,298 acres and is 27% contained. It started on July 17 and full containment is estimated for Sept. 15.
So far, no injuries or major property damage have been reported from the fire, although two pilots assisting with firefighting efforts were killed in a helicopter crash on the Salmon River on July 21. There are currently seven helicopters on scene, along with 59 engines and 1,232 firefighters, according to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management InciWeb website.
RELATED | Pilots killed in Salmon River helicopter crash
Pine Creek on the northwest side experienced the most fire activity Friday, according to fire officials. The flames spread to the Deep Creek area in the southwest corner late afternoon.
The northern and eastern edges of the fire is the main focus for firefighters on Saturday.
“Patrol, mop up, and suppression repair will continue along the northern and eastern edges of the fire along Salmon River Road and U.S. Highway 93,” the news release says. “Crews will patrol that area and mop up hot spots.”
Fire officials will also be removing several trees and strengthening the containment line near Jackass Ridge, where spot fires broke out earlier this week.
RELATED | Moose Fire grows to 74,470 acres; full containment estimated for Sept. 15
“Along Forest Road 300 West of Leesburg, crews are removing and chipping brush, and heavy equipment is working to widen the line. With yesterday’s weather and structure protection missions being completed, structure crews were reassigned to initial attack duties to respond to new starts,” the news release says.
Firefighters are anticipating terrain driven winds late Saturday afternoon, causing smoke to settle in Carmen, Salmon and other parts of Lemhi County. Though air quality is expected to be good in the evening hours, officials say there may be brief periods of moderate air quality. Those with sensitive autoimmune issues may want to stay indoors during that time.
Firefighters with the Salmon-Challis National Forest are also battling the 5,542-acre Woodtick Fire and the 431-acre Norton Fire on the Frank Church River of No Return Wildnerness area.
Evacuations, road closures and other restrictions remain in effect in some areas. For information about evacuations, click here. For the latest on road closures and restrictions, click here.
Moose Fire progression map | Salmon-Challis National Forest
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