Fire closure area to be reduced Friday
Boise National Forest officials will reduce the closure area for the Trinity Ridge Fire effective 7 a.m. Friday, Sept.14.
The new closure order opens nearly 272,000 acres for public access, as work on the huge 146,677-acre fire begins to wind down. The fire is now 64 percent controlled but officials don't expect it will be extinguished until October snows hit the mountains. Portions of the fire perimeter remain uncontained.
Fire suppression efforts will continue, forest officials said, to keep the fire from progressing.
Visible smoke is anticipated from interior pockets of unburned vegetation.
In announcing the closure reduction, Boise National Forest officials said they want to provide "maximum access and use of public lands while ensuring public safety."
The latest closure order, revision #7, will allow the public to safely utilize roads within the fire perimeter to access Atlanta, Rocky Bar and Twin Springs Resort. The public is asked to look at the closure order and map and understand the boundaries before heading out.
For a complete listing of open/closed campgrounds visit www.fs.usda.gov/boise. For more information call 208-373-4100.
Roads and areas open to the public include:
* Middle Fork Boise River Road (FS Road 268) from Arrowrock Reservoir to junction of William Pogue Trailhead and from Dutch Creek to outside of fire perimeter (access to Atlanta).
* Black Warrior Creek Trailhead.
* Swanholm Road (FS Road 327) to Dutch Creek.
* Rocky Bar/Phifer Creek Road (FS Road 156) from Dutch Creek to Featherville.
* James Creek Road (FS Road 126) from Rocky Bar to outside fire perimeter (access to Atlanta).
* Area south/southwest from William Pogue Trailhead to Bear Hole Trailhead.
* Granite/North Fork Boise River Road (FS Road 327) (Including Barber Flats and Blackrock CG) is open. (The Barber Flats Bridge remains closed to public entry).
* Lands southeast of the North Fork of the Boise River remain closed from a point upstream of Barber Flats to the Middle Fore of the Boise River confluence. The lands northwest of that stretch of river are open.
* Crooked River/Edna/Little Owl roads are open.
* Pine Creek/FS Road 304 to Cottonwood Creek Road/Arrowrock Reservoir.
* Fall Creek Road from the beginning of the road to the Upper Lava Mountain Trailhead.
The remaining closed area is restricted due to continuing fire-related hazards, including smoldering ground fuels, burning stumps, the potential for further interior burns, and the risk posed by standing dead trees. Recreation access, including trail connections, were considered in reducing the closure area, forest officials said.
The public is advised to not leave their vehicles while driving through the closure area and to drive cautiously with their lights on. Be on the lookout for fire crews and equipment while using these roads.
The Boise National Forest is working with local governments (Elmore and Boise counties) to safely reopen roads through the closure area while continuing to provide for public safety.
Recreation facilities that remain closed include: all facilities in the Trinity Lakes Recreation area, Troutdale Campground, Ninemeyer Campground and Hot Creek Trailhead near FR 126.
All trails within the fire closure area remain off limits to the public use. The trail system on the north/south ridgeline between Rabbit Creek and Thorn Butte lookout will have heavy equipment and a fire crew continuing work on the contingency line until early next week. For the safety of the public and the firefighters, please avoid the area.
Although at one time 1,500 firefighters were working the fire, there are now less than 300 on the line. The process of breaking down camp and removing equipment and supplies will continue throughout the next few days as crews and overhead personnel are demobilized. Transfer of command of the Trinity Ridge Fire will take place on Sept.14 to a Type 3 organization managed by the Boise National Forest.
The fire, which began on Aug. 3, has cost approximately $39 million to fight.