BOISE, Idaho –Crews are starting to see results from their efforts and currently getting 10 fires closer to containment.
Multiple crews are battling three large fires ranging in size from 100 to 300 acres in the Garden Valley area, a large 85-acre fire east of Lowman, and 14 other smaller fires this morning.
Late Monday, a Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT) was ordered for the fires in the Garden Valley area and the fires were grouped together with the new name of the Whiskey Complex. The team arrive late today for a briefing prior to assuming command of the complex.
An IMT at the Type 1 level is developed to manage multiple fires that have the complexity of directing crews, aircraft, logistics and unified command. The Garden Valley Fire Department is in unified command with the Whiskey Complex, helping especially to provide structure protection along the South Fork Payette River road.
The 970-acre Wash Fire, located about three 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 270-acre Grimes Fire, five 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. Boise County Sheriff Ben Roeber implemented a voluntary evacuation that includes all homes in the Pioneerville area. This new evacuation order is in response to potential extreme fire behavior. The fire is about 2 miles away. Residents are asked to check in with Boise County Sheriff's Dispatch at 392-4411. The concern is forecasted northwest winds that could move the fire toward the 10 homes in the community.
The 260-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.
The 85-acre Blue Jay Fire about 17 miles east of Lowman is burning conifer trees in a remote area. Smokejumpers will manage it for the immediate future. Five hotshot crews will move to that fire throughout the day and two helicopters have been ordered. Five smaller fires on the Lowman Ranger District are nearing containment or control.
The Banks to Lowman Road, Highway 17, is open but smoky and travelers need to use caution. The Garden Valley and Crouch community is not threatened by any of these fires and access north to the Middle Fork Payette River is clear with no fires.
The Garden Valley Rural Fire Department has a contact line for local residents at 208-462-3175 and the Red Cross is currently providing assistance at the local evacuation center at Garden Valley High School. Local evacuated residents have been asked to sign in at the center to improve accountability. Also, Boise County has a hotline number for evacuation information at 208-462-0552. An Incident Command Post is at the Garden Valley Helibase.
The current dry conditions of the forest and extremely hot temperatures are of concern and Forest officials ask the public to be extremely careful with flammable material as any new person caused fires only exacerbate the firefighting efforts.