BOISE — Firefighters working two large complexes of fires in the Boise National Forest saw less extreme fire behavior Sunday, but the battle is far from over, officials said.
The fires have led to evacuation orders by the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office and closed portions of the Boise National Forest including access to Anderson Ranch Reservoir.
The Elk Complex fire was estimated at more than 80,000 acres and was 5 percent contained Sunday evening. Many access roads into the fire area are impassible due to downed power lines, debris and fallen timber.
Evacuations are in place in the Pine area and Pine/Featherville Road, Cow Creek Road and Blacks Creek Road are closed.
Although the lodge in Fall Creek and about 20 structures were not damaged in the fire, it is believed there is significant structure loss further up the drainage. Fire officials will assess the situation when it becomes safe for them to enter the area.
The Boise National Forest Supervisor implemented an area closure that affects nearly 775,000 acres on national forest lands effective Sunday because of the Elk Complex fire. A map showing the closure area is posted at inciweb.org/incident/3616.
The Pony Complex fire, estimated at about 120,000 acres, was also less active Sunday and is 20 percent contained. Two cabins and an outbuilding in Syrup Creek were consumed by flames Sunday morning, but multiple other residences in Syrup Creek and the Miller Ranch have been successfully defended.
Evacuations were ordered by the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office for Mayfield and the Canyon Creek area. Public meetings were held Sunday in Pine and Mountain Home to update residents on the fires.
Last summer, the Trinity Ridge Fire burned more than 146,000 acres in the Boise National Forest.
OTHER LARGE FIRES
Firefighters in the Twin Falls District continue to battle the Beaver Creek and McCan fires. The fires were sparked by lightning Aug. 7. Crews were battling the fires as a complex, but because of the difficulty of managing two large fires in difficult terrain, they will be managed as two separate fires beginning today.
The fires have each burned more than 18,000 acres.
The Gold Pan Complex fire has burned more than 17,000 acres in the Bitteroot National Forest since it was sparked by lightning July 16, with no containment reported. Stage 1 fire restrictions went into effect for the Bitteroot National Forest Aug. 1.
The Lodgepole fire, burning 10 miles west of Challis, has charred more than 22,000 acres since it began July 20. The fire is 62 percent contained.