Tuesday, July 27, 2021
 
 
Light Smoke Invades Valley as Type 3 Team Called to Nearby Fire
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The Aspen Gulch Fire is burning near Mormon Hill. PHOTO: U.S. Forest Service
   
Saturday, July 10, 2021
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

The first major fire of the summer on the Ketchum Ranger District had grown to 65 acres by Friday afternoon.

The Aspen Gulch fire was spotted burning in remote area 17 miles northeast of Hailey near Mormon Hill recreation area on Thursday, July 8, by a passing plane. Within a day it ballooned from 15 acres to 64.

It’s burning in heavy downed timber and standing dead or dying trees. Fire personnel and aerial resources are working the fire and additional resources have been ordered, including a Type 3 Incident Management Team.

It was not the smoke from that fire, however, that invaded the Wood River Valley for a couple hours Friday morning. That smoke is coming from three or four fires in northern California, including the Lava Fire, according to Kevin M. Smith, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pocatello.

Later in the day winds western winds brought smoke over parts of southern Idaho from fires in Southern Oregon.

It’s possible the Wood River Valley could see smoke from fires burning in northern Idaho near Lewiston overnight, Smith said. The Shovel Creek Fire, 20 miles south of Lewiston, had grown to 16,000 acres by Friday. And two other nearby fires have burned 7,000 additional acres.

A lightning-caused fire that’s burned 11,000 acres near Grangeville has also forced the evacuation of residents from the tiny mountain town of Dixie. In addition, the 150-acre Bonnie Fire started near Boise's Bonneville Point on Friday.

Is there any way John Q. Public can determine where the smoke is coming from? Smith shared three of the smoke models the National Weather Services uses to evaluate where smoke is coming from and how bad it might be.

“Sometimes these models do very well, sometimes not so much,” he said. “These perhaps aren't the most "public-friendly" as far as tossing a link out there, but hopefully they still help!”

The models:

Change "Domain" to "NW", and then click on the "Loop" checkmark next to "Vertically Integrated Smoke"

* BlueSky Model https://tools.airfire.org/websky/v1/#status

Go to the "Northwest" section, and click on "Map" next to "CMAQ Modeled PNW 4-km"

Real-time air quality information is available from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality at https://airquality.deq.idaho.gov/home/map The Idaho DEQ also has some good information at http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/

 

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