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Saturday Updates On Elk Complex Fire

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By Michelle Bartlome

Elmore County, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) - UPDATE: 12 p.m. Saturday - Smoke settles overnight into lower areas. You will likely see and smell smoke for weeks to come, even after rains.

The fire is not out, but also should not expand. It may smolder for weeks in inaccessible spots, and in areas far from the edge of the fire.

You may even see open flames in areas where the fire will not grow, such as the ridges to the west of Pine/Featherville road. These flames should not come closer.

CallElkfire information at (208)653-2459, 8am to 8 pm, with any questions or concerns about the fire. Call the Boise National Forest Dispatch Office to report wildfires at (208) 384-3400. Call 911 for any other emergencies. Fire equipment is in the corridor 24/7.

Burned areas are full of hazards. Look overhead and on the ground as you walk in any burned area. Dead trees called “widowmakers” fall silently, with or without wind. Ash pits may hold hot coals for weeks in holes where stumps burned away.

Soil that burned intensely may become “hydrophobic” (it no longer absorbs water).Rain may flood down slopes. Before rain comes, find out if your property is vulnerable to flooding.Burned material can pile several feet thick into “debris flows” during a heavy rain. This is particularly important for residents of Fall Creek.

As a force of nature, fire has both positive and negative effects that vary depending on the landscape. Some of the ponderosa landscapes burned severely enough to remove most vegetation and soil.But in ponderosa pine forest, low-intensity fire often cleans away underbrush and forest litter while most large trees survive. Where the fire burned gently, the ash fertilizes the forest floor, so you may find beautiful green forest after the winter season.

-Original Story-

As of 8 a.m. on Saturday, the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office announced that the evacuation orders for the Pine-Featherville area will be lifted effective Sunday, August 18 at 5 p.m., allowing residents only to return home.

Saturday, permitees and ranchers will be moving livestock out of the Fall Creek and Lester Creek drainages to safer areas near Prairie.

Fire Facts:
Fire Start Date: August 8, 2013
Location: Elmore County between Prairie and Pine Idaho
Size: 126,366 acres
Percent Contained: 50%
Cause: Lightning
Incident Resources: 834 personnel including: 13 hand crews, 57 engines, 19 water tenders,6 dozers, and 5 helicopters
Lost Time Injuries: 1
Structures Lost to Date: 81 total: 38 residences and 43 outbuildings/other
Estimated Cost to Date: $ 6,952,750

Today’s Activity:
East flank of the fire: Throughout the Pine-Featherville corridor firefighters will continue to hold, patrol and mop-up for a distance of 200-300 feet from the control lines. Special attention is being paid to rolling debris on steep slopes that may cause new spot fires.

West flank of the fire: Firefighters resume constructing hand line and burning out on Lava Mountain up to the 2012 Trinity Fire scar as weather and opportunities allow. Crews will continue to patrol fire lines and provide structure protection for Prairie residences.

Weather:
A Red Flag Warning is in effect again today. The weather continues to be hotter, drier, and windier. Temperatures will be in the low 90s, with minimum relative humidity at 7-11 percent. Winds will again be from the southwest at 25-30mph.

Evacuations and Road Closures:
Evacuations issued by the Elmore County Sheriff’s office remain in effect for the communities of Pine and Featherville through Sunday August 18.

Road closures are still in effect for the Pine/Featherville Road, Cow Creek Road and Blacks Creek Road.

Area Closures:
The U.S. Forest Service issued an area closure for the Boise National Forest, view at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/3616/


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