Fire managers are beginning to scale back forces devoted to suppressing the Craig Mountain Complex that has burned nearly 50,000 acres south of Lewiston.
“We are kind of in the patrol, monitor and mop up stage,” said fire information officer Jeannette Dreadfulwater.
The Type 2 incident command team that is directing firefighting efforts will hand control of the complex to a local Type 3 team Wednesday. Firefighters and equipment are being sent to other fires in the region.
“We are moving resources,” Dreadfulwater said. “We are getting them released and they are moving on to the next incident.”
The lightning-caused fires started July 15 in two spots – on a ridge between Deer Creek and Eagle Creek off of the lower Salmon River, and on Corral Creek off of the lower Snake River. The Corral Creek Fire has burned only 1,826 acres but the Powerline Fire spread quickly on the dry, grassy slopes. When combined with burnout operations designed to consume fuels in front of the flames, the Powerline Fire has covered 47,497 acres and burned much of the area west of Deer Creek along the lower Salmon River and on both sides of the southern end of Wapshilla Ridge that separates the Snake and Salmon rivers near their confluence.
However, a sizeable chunk of the China Creek drainage remains unburned and Dreadfulwater said hot shot crews spent much of Monday digging fire line in an effort to keep it green.
“They are going direct in there and putting in hand line, mopping up and securing it. They have almost completed that line,” she said.
In other fire news, the Asotin County commissioners have issued an outdoor burning ban for all unincorporated areas of the county. Campfires are allowed in designated fire pits at Chief Timothy Park only and propane fire rings, propane grills and charcoal barbecues can be used in unincorporated areas of the county.
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