Moose Fire expands to 43,226 acres

SALMON, Idaho (KIFI) – The Moose Fire burning west of the North Fork has burned 43,226 acres and is 15% contained.

The cause is still undetermined.

A red flag warning is in effect today for potential thunderstorms and dry lightning arriving as early as 2:00 p.m., increasing the chances of erratic fire behavior. Wind gusts can reach 40 mph.

Containment increased on the northwest side of the fire, from the Ulysses Mountain area southwest to Indianola. Storm cells passing to the south created some convection and somewhat higher wind speeds over the fire yesterday afternoon. The Pine Creek area has experienced extreme fire behavior including corona flows and long range scouting. In contrast, the east side of the fire had more moderate fire activity, and efforts to maintain the fire west of Highway 93 have so far been successful. Water drops from helicopters helped control a large localized fire north of Five Corners.

Today’s forecast shows a possibility of dry afternoon thunderstorms with increased winds. This can lead to atmospheric instability, leading to high fire activity and spread rates. Firefighters will continue to clear and secure the containment line to the north, continue to improve and expand the fire lines to the south and southeast, and conduct efforts to protect the structure before the advancing fronts of fire. Shooting operations will be used whenever possible to secure the periphery of the fire. Night operations crews will monitor residential areas to the east and west of the fire and possibly carry out additional burning operations if necessary. Clearing of the Diamond Fireline (Diamond Creek Drainage) is complete; pipe installation will be completed today to provide a water source along this line.

Please note that there is a temporary flight restriction (TFR) above the fire area. Recreational drones are not allowed in the TFR. Drone operations pose a significant risk to air operations and firefighters. If you are flying we cannot.

The pilot car system on Salmon River Road is expected to operate as normal today, but with the potential for temporary delays. The pilot car system is aimed at local residents, holders of river permits and river shuttles. The road is closed to all other traffic. Alternate route: Williams Creek Rd (021) to Deep Creek Rd (101), then north on Panther Creek Rd (055). Stay on the busiest road. This road is long and unpaved, and drivers should be prepared for heavy mining and recreational traffic, including tractor-trailers and vehicles with trailers.

EVACUATIONS: The Lemhi County Sheriff has placed Zone 2 (both sides of Highway 93 from Tower Creek to North Fork) in a “GO” evacuation state. Zones 7 and 8 (Squaw Creek to Pine Creek on the Salmon River Road) and Zone 1 (Tower Creek to Carmen, west of Salmon River) are in “SET” status. All other zones are in the “Ready” state. The latest updates from the Lemhi County Sheriff’s Office are available at https://www.lemhicountyidaho.org/sitehome/urgent-alerts/latest-updates-moose-creek-fire. The fire remains very active and all residents near the fire should follow the Ready!Set!Go! tips.

CLOSURES AND RESTRICTIONS: The Salmon‐Challis National Forest has implemented the Moose Fire Emergency Area, Road and Trail Closure, Order #04‐13‐22‐505. Details and a closure map are available at https://bit.ly/3BotHEf. Phase 1 fire restrictions are in effect in east-central Idaho on Salmon-Challis National Forest, BLM and Idaho State lands in Custer and Lemhi counties , excluding the wilderness area.