Mustang Complex News Release Friday, Sept. 14, 2012
Incident: Mustang Complex Wildfire
Location: North of the Main Salmon River, currently 0.5 miles west of the community of North Fork, Idaho.
Jurisdiction: USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region, Salmon-Challis National Forest
Resources: 988 personnel, including 15 hand crews, 87 engines, 3 dozers, 13 water tenders, and 3 helicopters.
Idaho: Fire activity increased Thursday afternoon causing thick smoke in the North Fork area along Highway 93.
The Idaho Transportation Department issued a road closure that required a pilot car escort overnight from the Butte County line to Gibbonsville Road (Milepost 326 through 337).
The public can expect continued intermittent road closures where pilot cars will escort traffic to facilitate safe travel during night hours. Visibility and smoke conditions will be closely monitored and escorts or closures may occur at any time. The public is urged to avoid unnecessary travel along Highway 93, as firefighter personnel and equipment will be staged roadside and in adjacent neighborhoods.
The inversion in place today will begin to lift around 1pm at which time fire activity is expected to increase. This is also the window of opportunity for aircraft to work in support of the ground operation with bucket work and aerial ignitions. Firefighters will be working to burn out unburned vegetation between the fire edge and Highway 93 in the Hughes Creek and Hull Creek area today, if weather conditions allow. This is one of the most active areas of the fire and fire managers are focused on controlling this fire edge. A pocket of unburned vegetation north of Salmon River Road is also of critical concern for firefighters today.
Montana: The fire was not very active yesterday in the Mine Creek area; however, the fire was more active in the Johnson Creek area. The movement was not unexpected, and the fire is moving in to the old Chrandal Fire area. Crews working in the Thunder Mountain area are close to completing line from Johnson Creek to July's Chrandal Fire. Crews are completing mop-up operations around the Gattin Ranch and will be breaking down the Horse Creek spike camp today.
Evacuations: Level 2 evacuation is in effect for Indian Creek, Idaho, west of North Fork. Level 3 evacuation remains in effect within the Highway 93 corridor from North Fork Fire Station to Quartz Creek just north of Gibbonsville. Ten forest area closures are in place including portions of both the Salmon-Challis and Bitterroot National Forests. The Idaho National Guard continues to assist by staffing traffic control points around the fire. The area of Hughes Creek, Montana to the Idaho state line remains under a stage 1 evacuation. Residents in this area have a high probability of need to evacuate and should remain vigilant.
Forecast: Low relative humidity, dry conditions and light westerly winds are expected today with red flag warnings issued for higher elevations. Temperatures are predicted to be 64 to 76 at higher altitudes, and 72 to 82 at lower elevations. Relative humidity should be between 6 and 11 percent. Valley bottom and mid-slope winds between 3 and 7 mph, and ridge top winds west at 5 to 10 mph. Haines Index 5.
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