BOISE — An evacuation order for homes near the Blackerby fire in north central Idaho was lifted Thursday after crews got the upper hand on the 4,950-acre blaze that once threatened 80 residences.”We’re into a mop-up stage right now and using infrared equipment to locate any hot spots remaining,” said Mary Fritz of the incident command team fighting the fire that began Aug. 9 southeast of Grangeville. “Folks are feeling pretty confident now.”
No homes were lost.
About 660 firefighters were still on the scene, some crossing the South Fork of the Clearwater River in boats to complete the control line. The estimated cost of the suppression was $3.4 million.
Statewide, there were 10 fires of more than 100 acres burning Thursday, totaling more than 32,000 acres.
The Granite Complex burning on the Idaho side of Hells Canyon made up half the statewide acreage total after down-canyon winds helped spread the fire northward. Because the fire is still within federal wilderness area boundaries, it’s being allowed to burn with limited suppression consisting of aerial water drops.
But fire managers were poised to step up their attack if the flames cross the wilderness area boundary into the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.
“We don’t want to see it go north of Sheep Creek because that’s where the wilderness area stops,” said Jack Horner of the Riggins incident command station that is monitoring the fire. “In the fire management plan, we have the option of managing wild-land fire use in wilderness but not in the recreation area, so that’s why we are looking at trying to keep it from spreading much farther north.”
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