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UPDATE: Firefighters make slow progress on Big Cougar Fire

Photo: Image by INCIWeb

UPDATE: Firefighters make slow progress on Big Cougar Fire

By Associated Press and InciWeb . CREATED Aug 11, 2014

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Firefighters have made progress suppressing Idaho's largest wildfire but anticipated extreme fire weather conditions could make putting it out the difficult in the next few days.

The lightning-caused Big Cougar fire is burning on the Idaho side of the Snake River near the Oregon and Washington border and has burned more than 101 square miles.

Firefighters have contained nearly half of the flames since the fire first erupted Aug. 2.

Fire officials say triple-digit temperatures are expected to challenge firefighters Monday and high wind gusts will drop into the fire region later this week.

Yesterday’s Activities: There was limited fire growth yesterday. On the southeast side where the fire is uncontained, fire growth was slowed by the moist riparian zone of Eagle Creek. This allowed firefighters the opportunity to go direct in wetting the fire edge with pumps and hoses drawing water from Eagle Creek. These efforts were aided by helicopter bucket drops. In addition, ground crews and dozers worked on a fireline following a ridge near Roberts Spring southeast to Fry Point. One contingency line was completed along the Powerline and another contingency line off of Hoover Point was scouted. Firefighters, supported by engines, patrolled and extinguished hot spots on other areas of the fire already burned and blackened.

Current Resources: The number of firefighters on the incident is 442. Resources assigned include fourteen crews, four helicopters, nine engines, three dozers, two jet boats and support personnel.

Planned Actions: Today will be extremely hot (100+ temp) and dry with very low humidity (single digits) and light winds. Ground resources will continue construction of firelines on the southeast side, with the possibility of burnout operations that will be carefully coordinated and timed. This will include the work of most fire resources including ground crews, dozers, and air support. All other areas of the fire will be patrolled and monitored by ground and air.

Special Messages/Closures: Stage 3 Evacuation Notice for residents along the Salmon River from the Confluence with the Snake River upstream to the Oxbow. Stage 3 means occupants of the area need to leave immediately.

Stage 2 Evacuation Notice is in effect for the communities of the Deer Creek-Eagle Creek areas. Residents should prepare to leave at a moments notice.

Zaza Rd (#540) remains closed south of the Deer Creek intersection.

Boaters on the Salmon River need to be aware of helicopter activities within the area.

Smoke hanging in the valleys from Grangeville to Lewiston is coming from the Johnson Bar Fire that is burning in heavy timber about 5 miles from Lowell, Idaho.

For further information on the fire, visit: www.inciweb.nwcg.gov; Select “Big Cougar”