Snake River and Dry Gulch Fires very active in Washington and Idaho

8:30 a.m. MDT July 12, 2021

map Dry Gulch Fire and Snake River Complex
Map of the Dry Gulch Fire and Snake River Complex of fires. The red areas represent heat detected by a satellite at 2:54 a.m. MDT July 12, 2021.

Wildfires are still very active where three states meet, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

Dry Gulch
Nearly all of the spread of the fire over the last two days has been on the southwest side. A mapping flight Sunday night found that it had grown to 55,050 acres, but has moved no closer to Lewiston, Idaho and is still 10 miles southwest of the city. The Dry Gulch Fire merged with the Lick Creek Fire on July 8 and they are now treated as one — Dry Gulch.

On Sunday evacuation warnings ( Level 2, get set) were in effect, but no actual evacuation orders (Level 3, leave now). (Very Brief Editorial: We need a national system of evacuation criteria that is uniform across the country, makes sense, and does not require training or explanation!)

Dry Gulch Fire, July 9, 2021.
Dry Gulch Fire, July 9, 2021. InciWeb photo

The Dry Gulch Fire has been managed by a Type 2 Incident Management Team, but a Type 1 Team will assume command Monday, July 12.

Resources assigned on Sunday evening included 14 hand crews, no helicopters, 52 fire engines, and 4 dozers for a total of 536 personnel.

Snake River Complex
The 54,407-acre fire 12 miles south of Lewiston, Idaho is being managed by a Type 2 Incident Management Team. It is comprised of three fires that burned together, Shovel Creek, Captain John Creek, and Hoover Ridge. The growth over the last two days has been closer to each other as well as to the east and the south. It is bordered on the west side by the Snake River. The greatest spread Sunday was on the south side where the Shovel Creek Fire came close to the Salmon River. The east side of the Hoover Ridge Fire is being held by the Salmon River.

Approximately 438 residences are threatened.

From the Incident Management Team Sunday evening:

On the north end of the fire, resources continue to protect values at risk including primary structures and infrastructure around Waha Lake and Red Bird road. Tactics include a combination of indirect line followed up with burning in Madden Creek and around to the south. In the Craig Mountain area, resources are completing indirect fireline to the north. The Hoover Ridge fire resources continue to secure the northeast corner down to the Salmon River. Resources are still using a point protection strategy to burn around and secure values at risk in both the Salmon and Snake Rivers.

Resources assigned Sunday evening included 3 hand crews, no helicopters, and 6 fire engines for a total of 170 personnel.

Dixie Fire
The 15,323-acre Dixie Fire just east of Dixie, Idaho is not being completely suppressed by the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest. It is being managed by a Type 1 Incident Management Team. Resources that are 15% monitoring, 30% confining, 35% point protecting, and 20% suppressing the fire include 8 hand crews, 16 fire engines, and 4 helicopters for a total of 522 personnel. The same team is managing the nearby 898-acre Jumbo Fire. (map)

Wildfires in Western Idaho and Southeast Washington continue to grow

Wildfires in Southeast Washington and Western Idaho
Wildfires in Southeast Washington and Western Idaho. The red areas represent heat detected by a satellite at 4:12 a.m. PDT July 10, 2021.

The fires in Western Idaho and Southeast Washington were very active Friday and into the night.

The Shovel Creek Fire east of the Snake River merged with the Captain John Creek Fire just to the north, 13 miles south of Lewiston, Idaho. It is being managed with the Hoover Ridge Fire 5 miles to the east in what is now the Snake River Complex of fires. Together, they have burned 31,900 acres. On Saturday the Type 3 Incident Management Team is transitioning to the Type 2 Northern Rockies Team 4. The plan for Saturday is to establish an operational strategy and continue point protection. Boats are being used to shuttle firefighters on the Snake River.

(To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the wildfires in Southeast Washington and West Idaho, including the most recent, click HERE.)

Snake River Complex fires
Snake River Complex July 9, 2021. InciWeb photo.

The Dixie Fire is just east of the small community of Dixie, Idaho, east of Road NF-222. Friday night it was mapped at about 13,000 acres. It is burning in mixed conifer stands with 40-60% standing dead trees in some areas. Old fire scars with heavy accumulations of down fuels are slowing the fire but are not barriers to fire spread. Long range spotting is occurring. If the fire activity increases, the incident management team said, it could prompt structure protection in the communities of Dixie and Comstock, and along the Salmon River at the Jim Moore and Whitewater Ranches.

The 1,300-acre Jumbo Fire is seven miles west of the Dixie Fire. They are both being managed by the Type 1 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 2.

In Washington the lightning-caused Dry Gulch and Lick Creek Fires 9 miles southwest of Lewiston, Idaho merged and are now known as the Dry Gulch Fire. It  has burned about 38,000 acres, an increase of 13,000. Structures are threatened and evacuations are in effect. Most of the growth Friday was to the southwest where it is moving into higher elevations and heavier vegetation.