WILDFIRE WATCH 2014: New evacuations for the Big Cougar Fire sou - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

WILDFIRE WATCH 2014: New evacuations for the Big Cougar Fire south of Lewiston

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Big Cougar Fire from the Snake River Big Cougar Fire from the Snake River
Big Cougar Fire from the Snake River Big Cougar Fire from the Snake River
A map showing the perimeter of the Big Cougar Fire A map showing the perimeter of the Big Cougar Fire
LEWISTON, Idaho - UPDATE: 

LEWISTON, Idaho- Fire officials announced new evacuations in The Big Cougar Fire, burning south of Lewiston. Because of recent fire development, the following evacuations are in order:

Snake River Zone Lower: 


Nez Perce County Sheriff has issued a Stage 3 Evacuation Notice at 3:00 pm for residents along the Salmon River from the confluence with the Snake River upstream to the Oxbow. Stage 3 means occupants of the area are asked to leave immediately.

Deer Eagle Zone:

Nez Perce County Sheriff has issued a Stage 2 Evacuation Notice at 3:00 pm for residents located in Meadow Creek and upper Deer Creek. Stage 2 means residents are advised to prepare to evacuate at a moments notice. People requiring extra care and those needing to move livestock should take necessary steps immediately.

For further information please refer to the Big Cougar Fire Incident Population Protection Plan and corresponding map. These documents are included in this mailing.

Please contact the Big Cougar Fire Information Line, (208) 924-5009 or (208) 924-5013, for questions or additional information.

PREVIOUS STORY:

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - Three firefighters have been injured battling a wildfire burning on the Idaho side of the Snake River across from Oregon and Washington.

Fire spokeswoman Jill Cobb says one firefighter received a 3-inch gash on his right leg from a chain saw and required stitches. Another firefighter suffered heat related problems and a third sustained a scratched cornea.

The fire on Friday grew to 76 square miles and destroyed a sixth structure.

But Cobb says an 8-mile fire line built on the north side of the Big Cougar Fire appears to be holding.

Cobb says at least 200 homes are near the fire and residents have been told to evacuate or be ready to evacuate.

About 450 firefighters plus aircraft are battling the blaze bordered by the Snake and Salmon rivers.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

UPDATE: LEWISTON, Idaho- The Big Cougar Fire continues to burn in extremely rugged terrain. The fire is now estimated to be at 45,000 acres and is only 15% contained. 6 structures have been destroyed, mainly cabins, but there are 200 structures in the fire's path. On Thursday morning crews began a burnout operation along approximately eight miles of constructed fireline (containment line) north of the fire (Wapshilla Ridge to Captain John Rapids).  By Thursday evening, burnout operations were progressing slow and steady as firefighters proceeded with caution.
Helicopters continued dipping out of the Snake and Salmon Rivers, using water drops to cool hot spots. In addition to the five structures lost along the Snake River, one structure has burned along the Salmon River. The number of firefighters on the incident is 454.  Resources assigned include  fifteen crews, four helicopters, four engines, three dozers and support personnel.

Crews say they will continue burnout operations into late Thursday evening.  Night operations will monitor the burnout and continue with structure protection along the Snake River.  Predicted weather Friday includes an increase in cloud cover and isolated thunderstorms.  This will likely cause a slight decrease in temperature and increase in relative humidity. Burnout operations will continue north of the fire, causing smoke to remain in the area. Planning and preparation for fireline construction on the southeastern portion of the fire will continue.

A Stage 2 Evacuation Warning is in effect for the communities of Waha and Redbird and residents should prepare to leave at a moments notice. Benton Meadows Road closure is still in effect. Residents on the Snake River between China Garden Creek and Captain John Creek are under a Stage 3 Evacuation Request, meaning people should leave the area immediately. Boaters along this reach of the Snake River need to be aware of helicopter activities within the area.
PREVIOUS STORY:


Fire officials announced Level 3 evacuations for a handful of homes near the Big Cougar Fire. The evacuations are for homes on the Snake River between China Garden Creek and Captain John Creek. Level 3 means residents should leave immediately.They also issued Level 2 evacuation notices Thursday for the Waha and Redbird communities south of Lewiston. Level 2 means be ready to leave at a moments notice. Crews closed Benton Meadow road because of the fire. 

The fire has burned 41,000 acres on the east side of the Snake River across from Oregon and Washington state. It threatened 160 buildings as of 12:00 p.m. Thursday and was just 10 percent contained.

A U.S. Forest Service sent KHQ photos of the fire taken by a boater on the Snake River. Boaters on the Snake River should be aware of helicopters being used to fight the fire.

PREVIOUS STORY:

Five structures have been destroyed by a wildfire burning in northern Idaho and fire managers on Thursday planned a burnout operation to halt the fire's northeast expansion.

Big Cougar Fire spokesman Tom Rhodes says it's unclear if the destroyed structures are homes or outbuildings in the remote area accessible only by boat.

The fire is on the east side of the Snake River across from Oregon and Washington state.

Rhodes says about 160 structures are threatened by the 64-square-mile fire burning in mostly grass but also some timber. Residents have been told to evacuate.

No injuries have been reported.

About 319 firefighters plus four helicopters are fighting the lightning-caused blaze that started Saturday.

Rhodes says the Snake River is preventing the fire from reaching Oregon and Washington.

© Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 

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