Mustang Complex Update Friday, Sept. 21 2012
Incident: Mustang Complex Wildfire
Evacuations: Evacuation orders for all of the following locations changed from a Level 2 to a Level 1 evacuation, as of 12 noon Thursday, September 20, 2012.
Highway 93 corridor from North Fork (mile post 326.5) to Quartz Creek (mile post 339.6) just north of Gibbonsville, ID including Ditch Creek, Hughes Creek and Hull Creek.
The Highway 93 corridor from Quartz Creek (mile post 339.6) to mile post 345.5 remains at a Level 1 evacuation. The highway remains open including all businesses along that corridor. Anyone traveling through these areas is advised to drive with headlights on and reduce their speed due to increased fire traffic from backhauling operations and smoky conditions.
Hazards: Concern was expressed by a few North Fork residents at a recent public meeting over the potential release of radioactive contaminants into the air from fire activity near abandoned mines in the Salmon River corridor, west of the community of North Fork, Idaho. Fire officials with the Mustang Complex have been conferring with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) to address these concerns. IDEQ considers the risk of potential radioactive airborne contaminants to be low. These contaminants do not pose any significant risk to public health and safety. Poor air quality, due to particulate matter in smoke, is the main health concern of public health officials. IDEQ is in the process of setting up equipment in the North Fork area to monitor air quality.
Firefighters are trained to stay away from mining sites because of the multiple hazards they present. Salmon Challis Forest officials provided fire managers information about abandoned mines and the locations prior to suppression efforts.
Idaho: Light fire activity occurred between Allan Mountain and the Montana border on Thursday. The fire did progress slightly northward from some short range spotting. Hotshot crews have connected hose lays and pumps in this area to help with mop up. There was no further growth in the Hughes Creek and Hull Creek areas. Firefighters continued mop up activities in these locations to cool any hot spots near the fire edge. The spot fire east of Highway 93 has cooled significantly due to mop up actions there. A forest rehabilitation plan is in place and crews will focus efforts on the Butcher Knife Ridge today, to restore dozer lines that were built to slow the fire spread.
Montana: Weather prevented firefighters from completing a burnout in Johnson Creek on Thursday. Firefighters will try again today to finish this burnout; mop up work will also continue. Fire activity picked up in Mine Creek and areas to the east Thursday. Road grading work has been completed in this area.