SALMON – As fire activity continues to increase along the Salmon River, public safety is a concern for firefighters.
Amy Baumer, spokesperson for the Salmon-Challis National Forest, told EastIdahoNews.com that the growth on the west side of the Moose Fire, 17 miles north of Salmon, is dangerous for area residents. As of Monday evening, a portion of Salmon River Road and the areas around it have been closed.
“From Pine Creek to Panther Creek – this part of the road is closed until further notice,” Baumer said. “Rocks, logs and debris are falling on the road. (Firefighters) are working to clear this up and assess the situation. They will open it once they feel it is safe.
This section of the blaze is the area firefighters are focusing on on Tuesday, aiming to train “a potential fire operation along the road to help reduce the intensity” of the blaze.
Although weather conditions will continue to be hot and dry, Baumer says reduced winds will be helpful in preventing or reducing further growth.
“Air assets will also be utilized where appropriate and safely,” according to the latest update from the Bureau of Land Management’s InciWeb website.
RELATED | Moose Fire spans 77,298 acres, 27% contained
Firefighters used rafts to cross the river along US Highway 93 near Fourth of July Creek on Monday to douse a hot spot in some trees. Air and ground crews dropped buckets to extinguish smoke in the area.
“Hand and engine crews continued to go straight into the ‘Horseshoe’ areas, including the Napoleon area, Napoleon Hill and Moose Meadows, but had to pull back in some areas due to increased l activity of the fires, which made it dangerous. Protection of the structure within the “horseshoe” is ongoing,” according to InciWeb.
There are currently six helicopters on site, along with 49 engines and 949 people working to contain the fire.
The 80,096 acre blaze is currently 34% contained. The fire started on July 17 and is thought to be human-caused, but specific details remain under investigation.
RELATED | Pilots killed in Salmon River helicopter crash
So far, no injuries or major property damage have been reported from the blaze, although two pilots assisting with firefighting efforts were killed in a helicopter crash on the Salmon River on July 21.
The latest information on evacuations is available here. For more information on road closures, click here.
A virtual public meeting will be held Wednesday on the Salmon-Challis National Forest Facebook page.