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Elk And Pony Complex Fires Prove To Be Challenging
Boise, Idaho ( KMVT-TV – KTWT-TV ) - Although slow progress is being made on the fires, forecasted weather conditions will present significant problems. Hot and dry conditions, new fire starts from lightning, and very dry fuels will increase the difficulty of reaching containment objectives. Smoke continues to be heavy due to the intense burning and is affecting a wide area across southwest Idaho. The Incident Management Teams are in place and have solid containment plans. The two fires continue to be the top priority in the nation.
The Elk Complex is estimated at 98,413 acres and 5% contained. On the west flank of the fire, crews today will construct containment lines working north and east from Prairie. Crews conducted limited burn out operations last night and this morning around Pine in order to improve structure protection and to keep the fire to the west of the Pine/Featherville -Road. The long-term goal for the north side of the fire is to herd it into the burn scar from last year’s Trinity Ridge fire.
The evacuation area implemented by the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office along the Pine/Featherville Road has been increased. The area now includes two subdivisions just north of the Johnson Bridge, including Laguna Circle Drive. The evacuation area then continues south through Pine.
A saw team will begin work in Fall Creek today to clear roads of abundant downfall. As that work is completed, an assessment team will begin to determine the status of all structures in the canyon. That information will be released by the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office when completed.
The Pony Complex is now estimated at 143,900 acres and is 30% contained. Containment lines held along the fire perimeter as a thunderstorm with gusty winds passed through the fire area early today. More storms are possible this afternoon. An isolated area of timber above the Anderson Ranch Dam remains a concern. If smoke clears out earlier in the day today, helicopters will have more time to make drops on the area in an effort to keep the fire to the west of Highway 20.
Road closures include Blacks Creek Road, Indian Creek Road, Anderson Ranch Dam south on the Dixie Creek Cutoff to Highway 20, Prairie Road/Cow Creek Road north from Highway 20, Canyon Creek/Immigrant Road, Regina/Baseline Road, Mayfield Road and surrounding access roads.
There will be a public meeting tonight at 7 p.m. at the Fairfield American Legion Hall to provide information on the McCan and Beaver Creek fires on the Sawtooth National Forest. Representatives from the Elk Complex will also be in attendance.
The Boise National Forest has initiated a large area closure that extends roughly on the east side from Road 181 to the junction with the Fairfield Ranger District, Sawtooth National Forest boundary, including the Pine/Featherville road; north from Atlanta along the Middle Fork Boise Road (Forest Road 268) over to the Deer Park Rental Cabin; then west along Forest Road 327 to Idaho City and Highway 21 on the west. Additionally, the Trinity Lakes Recreation area is closed. The Middle Fork Boise River Road is open from the Spring Shores Marina for residents of Twin Springs and Atlanta and only as long as fire conditions allow.