Update: Idaho's Whiskey Complex Wildfire Closes Sections Of Boise County

Jul 17, 2014

The Whiskey Complex wildfire burning near Garden Valley is now 4,500 acres.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This story was updated at 9:41 a.m. July 17, 2014

The Whiskey Complex wildfire burning in Boise County has grown to 4,500 acres and could expand today because of forecast westerly winds.

The Boise National Forest reports hot temperatures and dry fuels have been a challenge for firefighters working to contain the Complex. It's estimated at 3 percent contained.

Voluntary evacuations are still in place for residents in Pioneerville and those along the South Fork Payette River road.

Here's an update from the Boise National Forest:

  • Wash/Calder Fire – "The two fires burned together yesterday [Wednesday] and will now be called just the Wash Fire. The Wash Fire moved upslope from the South Fork Payette River yesterday toward the Calder Fire which was established above the river along a prominent ridge. It also moved into the headwaters of Wash Creek. The west flank is about 2 miles east of the Alder Creek Road. Today, the top priority is to hold the fire from moving further south. The southern flank is about 1/12 miles from the small community of Pioneerville. The community remains under a Boise County Level 2 Voluntary Evacuation."
  • Grimes Fire – "The west flank of this fire is holding. Firefighters will begin work today to complete indirect fire line (line away from the direct edge of the fire) to prepare for a planned burnout.  A burnout is designed to eliminate fuels before the wildfire can reach a containment point and it is done only if weather and fireline work is conducive for such action."

Fire managers will host a community meeting Thursday for residents at 6 p.m. at the Garden Valley High School. A 6 p.m. meeting is also scheduled for Friday at the Centerville Community Center.

 

Click on the map to enlarge.
Credit Boise National Forest

This story was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 16, 2014

The Whiskey Complex wildfire has resulted in the closure of forested lands in the area and the Hot Springs Campground.

The latest update from the Boise National Forest shows string of fires has now burned more than 1,000 acres east of Garden Valley, Idaho.

The lightning-caused fire sparked Sunday and has been difficult to manage thanks to high winds, hot temperatures and dry fuels. The fire is burning in heavy timber and brush.

Here's the latest from the Boise National Forest:

  • "The 970 acre Wash Fire about 3 miles east of Garden Valley continues to have a Boise County Level 2 Voluntary evacuation in effect, but firefighters have reduced the threat to those homes through burning of fuels in their immediate area and building fire line. Today the focus will be continued mop up around the homes and keeping the fire from moving west. The fire was active last night."
  • "The 270 acre Grimes Fire about 5 miles east of Garden Valley continues to have a Boise County voluntary evacuation for the 10 homes in the Pioneerville area. This fire is very challenging due to the steep and inaccessible terrain. Firefighters will continue to build fireline focusing on the west flank."
  • "The 260 acre Calder Fire about 4 miles east of Garden Valley is in remote, inaccessible, steep and challenging country. A spot fire late yesterday has been contained."

Highway 17 from Banks to Lowman is still open, but conditions are smoky.

Local residents should contact the Garden Valley Rural Fire Department at 208-462-3175 for more information. Boise County has set up and evacuation information hotline at 208-462-0552.

This story was updated at 3:40 p.m. July 15, 2014

The Boise National Forest provided this photo of aerial water drops from Monday July 14, 2014.
Credit Boise National Forest / Inciweb

The Boise County Sheriff has expanded voluntary evacuations for residents in the Pioneerville area southeast of Garden Valley.

The Grimes Fire, part of the Whiskey Complex, is estimated at 270 acres.

The fire is two miles away from homes in Pioneerville, and the voluntary evacuation notice was issued in response to "extreme fire behavior."

The Boise National Forest and Boise County Sheriff's office is asking residents who choose to evacuate to check in at 208-392-4411.

Fire managers are concerned about forecasted northwest winds that could begin to shift the fire toward homes.

This story was updated at 12:35 p.m. July 15, 2014

A string of lightning-caused fires burning on the Boise National Forest near Garden Valley, Idaho has been named the Whiskey Complex. Three of the largest fires, which sparked Sunday night, range from 100-300 acres. Fifteen other small wildfires are included in the Whiskey Complex.

The Boise National Forest reports a type 1 incident management team will arrive late Tuesday.

Here's an update from the Boise National Forest on the three larger fires:

  • "The 150 acre Wash Fire, located about 3 miles east of Garden Valley is a top priority fire due to its proximity to homes. No structures have been lost, but the fire is near several homes. An additional structure fire engine has been ordered to re-enforce structure protection."
  • "The estimated 300 acre Grimes Fire, 5 miles east of Garden Valley, is also a high priority fire. The Idaho City, Boise, and Sawtooth Hotshot Crews will work to fully contain a smaller fire nearby and on the Grimes Fire throughout the day, supported by helicopters, engines and airtankers."
  • "The 100 acre Calder Fire, about 4 miles east of Garden Valley, is higher in elevation from the South Fork Payette River, and is very challenging to access on foot. Fire managers will assess the best method of attack today with a close look at its location and firefighter safety."

Highway 17 from Banks to Lowman is currently open, but officials say the road is smoky and drivers are urged to use caution.

At this time, the communities of Garden Valley and Crouch are not threatened.

A voluntary evacuation order for residents living along the South Fork Payette River Road is still in effect. Local residents can call 208-462-3175 for more information. Boise County has also set up a hotline number for evacuation information, 208-462-0552.

A number of resources, including helicopters, are being used to fight the fires.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This story was updated at 3:30 p.m. July 14, 2014 

The Boise County Sheriff has issued a voluntary evacuation notice for people living along the South Fork Payette River Road now that the Calder Fire is getting closer to homes.

The fire is still half a mile from houses, but it spotted over the ridge above the residential area, which is why the sheriff issued the voluntary evacuation.

About 60 homes are included in the area 5 miles east of Garden Valley.

Residents who decide to evacuate should check in at the Garden Valley School.

This story was updated at 2:40 p.m. July 14, 2014

The Boise National Forest has revised up its estimate of lightning-caused wildfires that sparked Sunday night. Forest spokesperson David Olson says 20 small fires are now burning on the Boise National Forest.

Fire lookouts are looking for more fires that may have started overnight.

Olson says most fires are small, ranging from less than an acre to more than 6 acres. "A few are becoming more active due to the hotter temperatures, and fire crews on scene are requesting helicopter water bucket drops to help cool the fires," Olson says.

The fires stretch from Garden Valley east, following the South Fork Payette River corridor.

This story was first posted at 11:23 July 14, 2014

The Boise National Forest reports more than a dozen lightning-sparked wildfires have started near Garden Valley and Crouch, Idaho.

About half of the fires are being staffed by forest service engines, firefighters and smokejumpers.

In a press release, David Olson with the Boise National Forest, says the Calder Fire burning 5 miles east of Garden Valley is their first priority. Olson writes the Boise County Sheriff and forest service personnel are asking residents along the South Fork Payette River Road to be ready to evacuate in case it's needed.

"The current dry conditions of the forest and extremely hot temperatures are of concern with these new starts. Forest officials ask the public to be extremely careful with flammable material as any new person caused fires only exacerbate the firefighting efforts." - Boise National Forest

The National Weather Service is predicting triple-digit temperatures for much of southern Idaho early this week.

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