Orofino,Idaho-Window on the Clearwater
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Fire crews working toward more containment on Sunnyside Complex fires

Crews are working toward more containment on the three fires in the Sunnyside Complex.

The Sunnyside Complex is currently comprised of three fires: the Clover Fire in the Sunnyside/Cavendish Highway area; MM 49 Fire (along the U.S. Highway 12 corridor between Orofino and Greer) and the Iron Gate Fire (located approximately eight miles southeast of Clarkia.)

Clover Fire: The Clover Fire is estimated at 1,632 acres and is approximately 90 percent contained. Firefighters will patrol the perimeter of the fire area and continue to search for and mop up any remaining interior hotspots or hazard trees which could pose a threat to structures, powerlines, or containment lines. Due to the cooler, moister conditions, smoke may not be as visible Monday, but hotspots will likely continue to smolder for some time.

A night time photo of the MM 49 Fire last week. (Photo courtesy of Don Ebert)

MM 49 Fire: The MM49 Fire is estimated at 2,661 acres and is approximately 50 percent contained. Sunday, fire crews completed the burnout operation down to US 12 to secure the indirect containment lines southeast of the fire while minimizing the impact to any values at risk.

Containment lines along the fire's northwestern and southwestern perimeter continue to hold, and crews will continue to improve those lines and patrol the perimeter. Firefighters will patrol and mop up the remaining portions of unburned fuels along the fire's southeast perimeter adjacent to US 12, as well as continuing to provide point protection for homes/structures, power poles, and other resources in that area. Due to the fire activity, rocks and debris continue to roll down onto US 12, and those traveling on that route should exercise caution.

Iron Gate Fire: The fire is approximately 95 acres in size due to more accurate mapping and is approximately 15 percent contained. The fire is located on steep, private industrial timber land and is burning in timber slash. Sunday, firefighters were able to get hand line and hose lay along the western fire perimeter and a portion of the eastern perimeter, and crews constructed a dozer line on the northern border.

The southern portion of the fire has burned downslope almost to West Fork Stony Creek where moist conditions have minimized fire spread, and crews are patrolling that area to ensure that the fire does not spread further south. Although recreation in the general area is not yet affected, the road segment that leads into the fire (locally known as the "Iron Gate" road) is closed to public.

Closures/Restrictions/Evacuations: Travel on US 12 is currently restricted to a single lane with a pilot car guiding traffic through the MM 49 fire area (approximately mile marker 48 to mile marker 53), and the road could be temporarily closed at times for public safety. Please use caution to avoid rolling/falling debris in the area, expect a potential 60-minute delay in the area, and if possible, select alternative routes between Orofino and Kamiah. Vehicles turning left onto US 12 from Greer will be held before the bridge until the one-way traffic flow on US 12 moves from south to north (towards Kamiah). Stay up to date with current road status and conditions by visiting http://511.idaho.gov/.

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire areas. Remember that temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems (drones), so "if you fly, we can't!" No evacuation orders are currently in place. Many residents near the MM 49 fire are in 'set' mode. For information about evacuations, please contact the appropriate county Sheriff's Office: Clearwater County Sheriff's office - 208-476-4521 and Lewis County Sheriff's Office - 208-937-2447.

Air quality in the area is currently unhealthy due to a combination of both area smoke and drift smoke from large fires in Oregon and California. Check http://idsmoke.blogspot.com/ for current air quality conditions.

Heavy smoke from west coast wildfires will continue Monday with the potential to be heavier than Sunday. Temperatures are expected to be 70-80 degrees and relative humidity should be 30-35 percent. These are cooler and moister conditions than previously forecasted due to the dense smoke cover. If winds are able to reach the surface through the dense smoke, gusts to 10-14 mph could be possible from the northwest around the Clover and MM 49 fires and from the southwest on the Iron Gate Fire, and higher temperatures and lower relative humidity could be possible.

Window on the Clearwater
P.O. Box 2444
Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
Fax: (208) 476-4140