Cluster of Lightning Fires Now Named Whiskey Complex on Boise National Forest


By Paul Johnson

Boise, Idaho (KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV) – The Boise National Forest continues to battle 3 large fires ranging in size from 100 to 300 acres in the Garden Valley area, a large 85 acre fire east of Lowman, and 14 other smaller fires Monday morning.

The sheriff's office has asked for the Voluntary Evacuation of About sixty homes near Garden Valley. Those near the Calder fire, which is about five miles east of Garden Valley, are being asked to evacuate tothe Garden Valley school.

Late Monday a Type 1 Incident Management Team was ordered for the fires in the Garden Valley area and the fires were grouped together with the new name of the Whiskey Complex. The team arrive late Monday for a briefing prior to assuming command of the complex.

The Garden Valley Fire Department is in unified command with the Whiskey Complex, helping especially to provide structure protection along the South Fork Payette River road.

The 150 acre Wash Fire, located about 3 miles east of Garden Valley is a top priority fire due to its proximity to homes. No structures have been lost, but the fire is near several homes. An additional structure fire engine has been ordered to re-enforce structure protection.
The estimated 300 acre Grimes Fire, 5 miles east of Garden Valley, is also a high priority fire. The Idaho City, Boise, and Sawtooth Hotshot Crews will work to fully contain a smaller fire nearby and on the Grimes Fire throughout the day, supported by helicopters, engines and airtankers.

The 100 acre Calder Fire, about 4 miles east of Garden Valley, is higher in elevation from the South Fork Payette River, and is very challenging to access on foot. Fire managers will assess the best method of attack today with a close look at its location and firefighter safety.

The 85 acre Blue Jay Fire about 17 miles east of Lowman is burning conifer trees in a remote area. Smokejumpers will manage it for the immediate future. Five hotshot crews will move to that fire throughout the day and two helicopters have been ordered. Five smaller fires on the Lowman Ranger District are nearing containment or control.
The Banks to Lowman Road, Highway 17, is open but smoky and travelers need to use caution. The Garden Valley and Crouch community is not threatened by any of these fires and access north to the Middle Fork Payette River is clear with no fires.

The Garden Valley Rural Fire Department has a contact line for local residents at 208-462-3175 and the Red Cross is currently providing assistance at the local evacuation center at Garden Valley High School. Local evacuated residents have been asked to sign in at the center to improve accountability. Also, Boise County has a hotline number for evacuation information at 208-462-0552. An Incident Command Post is at the Garden Valley Helibase.

The current dry conditions of the forest and extremely hot temperatures are of concern and Forest officials ask the public to be extremely careful with flammable material as any new person caused fires only exacerbate the firefighting efforts.

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