Friday, September 28, 2012

Fire activity drops, closures still in place

Mustang and Halstead holding steady


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

A column of smoke from the Halstead Fire rises above Stanley earlier this month. However, officials say the fire is now holding steady and columns such as this one are likely a thing of the past. Smoke is expected to remain until significant precipitation falls. Photo by Kate Wutz

Though neither the Halstead nor the Mustang Complex fire is officially contained, the U.S. Forest Service said this week that both have been significantly moderated and rehabilitation is beginning.

A press release issued Thursday morning stated that the 338,319-acre Mustang Complex Fire is only 30 percent contained and 396 firefighters remain on scene. However, the fire information center reported that fire managers flew over the entire fire Wednesday and viewed no columns of smoke. 

The crews reported some torching of trees and burning within the perimeter of the fire, with most activity occurring between the Mustang Complex fire and the 32,000-acre Porcupine Complex Fire slightly to the northwest.

Crews reported Wednesday that the activity was minimal, and that the fires do not seem to have combined. Other crews are completing hand lines and attempting to guide the fire along the ridge tip to the northeast to prevent it from burning down into the Salazar Creek drainage, possibly with the aid of helicopters.

The press release states that crews are fixing damage done from dozer lines, a process that will likely take until the end of the week, maybe into the weekend to complete. Mop-up, patrolling and rehab work continue on the southern and eastern perimeters of the fire.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest announced Wednesday that the Halstead Fire had held steady for several days with minimal activity. Though the 179,305-acre fire is listed as only 62 percent contained, the press release states that the vast majority of uncontained areas are next to previous fire areas or natural rock barriers, which will act as fire breaks and prevent spread.

However, the release also states that the interior of the fire perimeter contains a large amount of unburned vegetation that will likely continue burning until a significant rain- or snowfall occurs.

Despite the containment lines’ holding, areas of the forest are still closed to all recreation. Bear Valley Creek is closed on the north side of the Fir Creek Campground bridge, which means that access to the Bear Valley Creek Hot Springs is closed as well. Access to Blue Bunch Mountain via this trail is still open. Loon Creek Road remains closed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from the Hecla Mine to the Loon Creek Guard Station to allow for safe firefighting operations. 

Nip and Tuck Road is open for nonmotorized traffic only, and all spur roads leading to the north from this road are still closed.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest reports that officials will review the closure area daily and determine when areas are safe for public use based on nearby fire activity, road hazards, firefighter safety and other considerations.

For more information, check www.inciweb.org/state/13.

Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.