Pioneer Fire spreads north across Highway 21 near Lowman, Idaho

firefighter burnout

Above: A burnout operation near Lowman, Idaho on the Pioneer Fire, August 5, 2016. USFS photo.

(UPDATED at 11 a.m. MDT August 6, 2016)

The Pioneer Fire at Lowman, Idaho, 32 air miles northeast of Boise, Idaho, continued to spread up the steep slopes after it crossed highway 17 Friday afternoon pushed by thunderstorm-generated winds gusting up to 35 mph. Spot fires initially occurred over the roadway west of the burnout firefighters were conducting near Lowman to protect the community. By 2 a.m. aerial mapping showed the fire had spread about 1.2 miles north of the highway and consumed an additional 1,200 acres.

On Friday the fire grew by about 6,700 acres, to 58,136 acres.

The video below of firefighters working along Highway 21 was posted by the incident management team on August 5.

 

3-d map Pioneer Fire
3-D map of the Pioneer Fire looking southwest. The white line was the perimeter at 7 p.m. MDT August 4. The red line was the perimeter at 2 a.m. August 6. Click to enlarge.

The incident management team’s plans for Saturday, in part:

Crews will look for opportunities to bring dozer line north from Burns Ridge down to the river west of the fire in an effort to create a new containment line. North of the river the fire is established in steep slopes with light grassy fuels. Aircraft this morning will survey the fire west and north of Lowman looking for suitable places to build containment lines. The possibility of another thunderstorm today or tomorrow brings potential for stronger wind gusts, which could create more extreme fire behavior.

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Originally published at 9:02 p.m. MDT August 5, 2016

A strong south wind added to the complexity of the burnout being carried out since Thursday by firefighters in an effort to stop the Pioneer Fire from impacting the community of Lowman, Idaho and crossing Highway 21. Sustained winds at 20 mph with gusts of 28 to 40 mph pushed the blaze across the highway Friday, significantly increasing the workload now laid out before the incident management team.

map Pioneer Fire 3-d
3-D map of the Pioneer Fire looking west. The red line was the perimeter at 7 p.m. MDT on August 4, 2016. The red dots north of the fire represent heat detected by a satellite at 3 p.m. MDT August 5, 2016. The red arrows depict the fire spread on Friday afternoon. Click to enlarge.

Evacuations have been ordered by the Boise County Sheriff’s Office for some areas near the Payette River, and Highway 17 is closed. The fire is 32 air miles northeast of Boise, Idaho.

The 52,000-acre fire is being fought by 1,489 personnel, 43 hand crews, 52 engines, and 10 helicopters. Five structures have been destroyed.

map Pioneer Fire
The white line was the perimeter of the Pioneer Fire at 11 p.m. MDT on July 28. The red line was the perimeter at 7 p.m. MDT on August 4, 2016. The red dots north of the fire represent heat detected by a satellite at 3 p.m. MDT August 5, 2016. Click to enlarge.

The incident management team running the fire led by Beth Lund is about to time out, so a replacement has been ordered which will inbrief at 9 a.m. on August 8.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

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