Of the two arms of the 128,00-acre Trinity Ridge extending out of the southeastern flank of the blaze, it was the southern arm that turned into Featherville, with the northern arm passing to the north.
Fire crews were successful this weekend in building no-fuel zone of backfires and firebreaks that stopped the fire just short of Featherville.
In addition, fire crews were able to turn some portions of the fire into old burn areas where fuel is limited, thus slowing its movement in some critical areas.
The Elmore County Sheriff evacuation order continues from Featherville to the Paradise area due to thick smoke and reduced visibility, however, while the Pine-Featherville Road remains closed, Featherville and Pine residents will be allowed access to their property today (Tuesday) for a limited time to check property and retrieve personal items.
Pine residents will be allowed in the area from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28. Featherville residents will have an opportunity to check their residences from 10-11:30 a.m. or noon to 1:30 p.m. Featherville residents wishing to check their homes are to meet at the Elk Flats Campground on Pine-Featherville Road by 10 a.m. OR noon to be escorted to Featherville. They will be allowed to proceed to their property and spend up to 90 minutes to check homes and gather any personal items they may have not been able to retrieve during the initial evacuation.
Although fire crews have saved all the homes and structures in Featherville, significant smoke and risks prevent residents from returning to their homes for now. Unified command is monitoring conditions to allow that to happen as soon as possible.
Checkpoints are still in place and all residents must show ID and proof of residence.
After Tuesday, the unified incident command will continue to assess fire risks and allow access as conditions warrant with the goal of getting people back into their homes and a normal life as soon as safely possible.
Smoke may be heavy at times and emergency vehicles will be traveling in both directions. Remember to drive safely, keep your headlights on, stay calm and follow the sheriff's instructions.
Once the smoke inversion lifted Sunday fire activity increased in the unburned area between Featherville and Rocky Bar. A large smoke column developed with the hotter afternoon temperatures. The fire did not cross the area that was burned out last week adjacent to Featherville.
Monday morning the fire had moved to 1.5 miles west of West Warrior Peak. Crews are completing handlines along the ridge near Black Rock campground. Firefighters also are at Swanholm Lookout and the Hermada Mine area.
In the southeast, crews will build dozer and handline today between Wagontown and Green Creeks to establish a line from the Pine-Featherville Road up the ridge between the creeks.
Two Type 1 helicopters will be dropping water near Fairview Creek to cool and slow fire movement.
The area between Featherville and Rocky Bar continues to burn the available fuel, which is increasing the protection of Featherville. Structure engines and fire personnel continue to be stationed in that area although the Mountain Home fire crews returned home this weekend.
On the western flank, firefighters plan to take advantage of natural features, such as rocky ridgetops and areas of sparser fuels to build a line between Trinity Mountain and Sheep Mountain.
Seven new lightning-caused fires have been reported since Sunday night on the Boise National Forest. All are being staffed today. There have been no containment issues to date.Thunderstorm cells did cross the fire area with wind gusts above 20 mph, which increased fire activity north of Featherville. Thunderstorms are still possible and over the next couple of days warmer temperatures and lower humidity levels will challenge firefighters' efforts.
An Evacuation Center has been set up by the Red Cross at the Pine Senior Center and the Pines Resort.
Evacuations are still in place for Dutch Creek, Swanholm, Weatherby and Queen River campgrounds. Many roads are currently closed as outlined in the Boise National Forest Trinity Ridge Fire Road Closure Order Number 0402-00-22 signed by Boise and Sawtooth Forest Supervisors on August 16th, 2012. The road closure is in effect at the following locations:
* Road 227 at the county line east of Baumgartner Campground (the campground is closed).
* Intersection of Highway 20 and Forest Highway 61 (Pine-Featherville Road).
* Intersection of Lester Creek Road and Lake Creek Road.
Three firemen in the Pine-Featherville area were injured last week when a log rolled down the hill and struck them. One of the firemen was taken to a hospital in Boise where he was held until Sunday. That makes a total of seven firemen injured so far, none seriously.
A new incident management team was added to the battle against the Trinity Ridge Fire last Wednesday, It took control of the fire from Sheep Mountain on the west side of the fire to the confluence of the Middle Fork and the Queen's River on the east side of the fire. The fire is slowly burning roughly toward Idaho City, and has reached the Hermeda Mine site as it also slowly advances on Atlanta, which is now ten miles away.
The Forest Service has been giving daily briefings to citizens in the Pine senior center each day at 10:30 a.m., and is now beginning a series of briefings in Idaho City as well.
A total of 1,342 Forest Service firefighters from 32fireline crews, 67 engines, two dozers and 23 water tenders are fighting the fire, which is advancing all around its perimeter.
In addition to helicopters dropping water on the fire, U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft equipped with special gear that allows them to drop fire retardant and Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) are flying out of Gowen Field in Boise to help fight the fire.
There are times when weather and smoke makes it impossible to fly the drops, however. In fact, the area is smothered in smoke in the valleys, which is considered a health hazard for those with respiratory problems.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has activated the National Guard to help. A seven-man crew and Lakota medivac helicopter is on station and other Guardsmen are providing security in the area, including enforcing the road closures that prevent civilians from entering the Pine-Featherville area now.
It has cost $22.2 million to fight the fire so far.
A total of only four structures, mainly Forest Service buildings, and eight outbuildings have been lost so far.