Boundary Fire, Oct. 7

Lightning sparked the Boundary Fire on Aug. 10. 

The 87,800-acre Boundary Fire burning about 30 miles northwest of Stanley is now 80% contained, up from the 20% containment mark it hit one month ago, the Forest Service said Thursday.

The fire was sparked on Aug. 10 by a lightning strike about two miles from the Boundary Creek boat launch near the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Since, it has burned through steep, inaccessible terrain in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, prompting the Forest Service to order a Type 2 incident management team.

Authorities have limited access to the area for the past two months, including to the launch, a popular put-in for rafting trips.

“Fire activity overall is moderate. The fire is smoldering and creeping with single tree torching,” the Forest Service reported Thursday. “Winds remain gusty with gusts up to 25 mph observed.”

Though cooler air with minimal amounts of precipitation moved into the fire area on Wednesday, Central Idaho is still in “high” fire danger, the Forest Service stated.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest was rated at “high” fire danger on Thursday, while the Sawtooth National Forest stood at “very high” fire danger.

The Forest Service is also advising travelers that smoke will be visible on the west side of state Highway 75 near Redfish Lake this week as fire personnel begin intentional fall burning.

Crews will burn slash piles on approximately 70 acres adjacent to Forest Service Road 210, also known as Decker Flats Road, which runs along the Salmon River between Yellow Belly Lake and Redfish Lake.

The project is part of a prescribed burn to address lodgepole pine mortality over the past two decades caused by the mountain pine beetle, which has “left a large amount of dead fuel” in the Sawtooth Valley and Stanley Basin,” according to the Sawtooth National Forest.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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