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Ross Fork Fire Closes Galena Highway as New Fire Reported Near Pioneer Cabin
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Muffy Ritz, who has a cabin in Smiley Creek took this picture of the Ross Fork Fire this weekend.
   
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Highway 75 was closed from Galena Lodge to the Blaine/Custer County line Sunday evening as the Ross Fork Fire continued to display erratic behavior under dry, hot, windy Red Flag conditions.

Winds shifted in the nick of time Sunday night pushing fire away from Smiley Creek and allowing firefighters to establish a backburn near the community. No homes were lost in the area at that time but reports confirmed Tuesday morning that some structures were lost overnight on Monday.

But Smiley Creek, Sawtooth City, Alturas Lake and the Luther Heights Bible Camp remain under evacuation orders as flames torch 40 and feet into the air under an orange haze.

 
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The Sawtooth National Forest posted this picture of the fire taken from Perkins Lake.
 

A Type 2 Incident Management Team took over the Ross Fork Fire Monday afternoon as the fire continued to balloon. The type 2 team will be able to provide a larger number of resources than the Type 3 team that had been working the fire. Type 2 teams are usually assigned to major fires

The fire ballooned to 14,038 acres on Monday—nearly tripling in size from 6,010 acres earlier in the morning. It was moving west towards the North Fork of Ross Creek and north towards Jake’s Gulch and Alturas Lake Creek. It was most active on the northeast side near Smiley Creek and the highway, on the southeast side and on the northwest corner. It was 4 percent contained on Monday.

Air support was grounded both Saturday and Sunday due to windy weather. But more firefighters were brought in to provide structure protection to homes in Smiley Creek.

The wildfire has closed access to Pettit Lake and its trailhead, Yellowbelly Lake, Pole Creek, the Upper Salmon River Headwaters and Frenchman Creek and Alturas Lake.

 
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This map shows the reach that the Ross Fork Fire has.
 

The Ross Fork Fire was believed to have started from a lightning strike three weeks ago. It has grown from 1,300 acres on Aug. 31.

OTHER FIRES IN THE AREA

  • An East Fork resident called in a fire in an area they believed to be near Pioneer Cabin Monday evening. There is no information on that yet, but a satellite picked up a hot spot above Corral Creek Road. A Sun Valley engine did respond to an area five miles northeast of Triumph Sunday night, as did a helicopter crew. And satellite no longer showed a hot spot by Tuesday morning.
  • The Wildhorse fire reported west of Hill City on Saturday has grown to 8,800 acres. It has forced intermittent closures of Highway 20 between Mountain Home and Hill City.
  • The Moose Creek Fire, which has burned right down to the Salmon River, burning the trees along the river north of Salmon, continues to burn and is now 104,000 acres. That's twicee the size of Boise, according to KTVB. The fire, which started six weeks ago and is believed to be human caused, is 44 percent contained. Earlier estimates had pegged containment on Aug. 31.

 
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Muffy Ritz took this picture Sunday night.
 

 
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An East Fork resident called in smoke in the vicinity of Pioneer Cabin Monday night.
 

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