Mustang Complex Fire Still Burning But Evacuation Levels Lowered By Sheriff's Office
North Fork, Idaho (KMVT-TV) The Mustang Complex Fire is now only a half a mile from the community of North Fork. As of right now, there are 1014 personnel on the scene battling the blaze. The fire grew 4,434 acres yesterday to an estimated total acreage of 294,408 acres. This growth primarily occurred as a direct result of burnout operations along the Highway 93 corridor and eastern end of Salmon River Road from Sage Creek east to the Highway 93 corridor. Both ground and aerial ignitions were successfully conducted yesterday. In the Hull and Hughes Creek drainages, a slow backing fire continued to work towards Highway 93. The calmer weather forecasted may allow firefighters to use a direct attack approach in these residential communities. With roadside burnout operations continuing today, fire managers appreciate the cooperation of the public to avoid unnecessary travel along Highway 93. Firefighter personnel and equipment will be staged roadside and in adjacent neighborhoods. South of Hughes Creek, Montana, the fire is slowly advancing as a ground fire north and east of the Johnson Creek drainage. Firefighters are creating a fuel break by improving existing trails and roads on Thunder Mountain and tying it into this summer’s Chrandal Fire on the southeast and to Highway 473 (West Fork Road) on the northeast. At Gattin Ranch, firefighters are mopping up after the fire passed through the area and crews conducted burnout operations on Monday. In the Mine Creek area south of Hughes Creek, Montana, firefighters are patrolling and maintaining structure protection. All residential structures remain intact and undamaged. On the southern and western fire perimeters, the growth and spread was light, primarily due to the changing weather conditions and light winds.
Today’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with light winds, slightly warmer temperatures, and lower relative humidities. We are now in a very stable air mass for the remainder of the work week. Today’s relative humidities will be in the teens and possibly the single digits by later this afternoon; however with a Haines Index of 4 and moderately stable atmosphere above, we do not expect rapid fire growth and spread. Evening temperatures plummeted into the teens in the higher elevations last night and relative humidity levels recovered to over 50 percent. These nighttime conditions are very favorable for cooling and moistening the available fuels in the forest, thus seasonal changes are beginning to occur. The Highway 93 corridor remains under an Evacuation Level 3 from North Fork Fire Station to Quartz Creek just north of Gibbonsville.
The Lemhi County Sheriff has revised the evacuation level for Indian Creek from an Evacuation Level 3 to an Evacuation Level 2. This action is due to recent successful fire operations in the area and a favorable extended weather forecast. At this lower level, evacuated residents may return to their homes; however, an elevated degree of vigilance should be maintained in the event that conditions change.
At Evacuation Level 2, conditions indicate a good probability that hazards associated with wildfire will severely limit the county’s ability to provide emergency service protection. This is a situation where dangerous conditions exist that may threaten residents and/or residences. Residents must be fully prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. This may be the only notice residents receive – every attempt will be made to notify residents and businesses as conditions change.
All other evacuation levels along the Highway 93 corridor and Sage Creek remain unchanged.