PAYETTE NATIONAL FOREST - Idaho’s largest active wildfire has grown to nearly 81,000 acres.
The Highline Fire started with a lightning strike on July 28, and is burning on the Payette National Forest, entirely within the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.
Fire activity picked up Friday as a layer of smoke that had been shading the fire dissipated, Payette National Forest public information officer Mike Ferris said on Saturday.
The fire has been actively burning in a pocket of timber near the Rock Rabbit Lookout. That lookout has been covered in a protective wrap, Ferris said. The fire is also active in dead and down debris.
A forest area closure order remains in effect. The closure includes Chamberlain, Cold Meadows, Soldier Bar and Cabin Creek airstrips. More details about the closure are available here. A total of 86 personnel are assigned to the fire, which is being allowed to play a natural role in the wilderness. The fire is being monitored and action to suppress the fire is taken when necessary to protect “values at risk,” Ferris said.
Crews assigned to the fire include one Type 2 initial attack crew, one type 1 wildland fire module, one light helicopter, and multiple fire line leadership and support positions.
A smaller fire also burning within the wilderness boundaries, the Goat Fire, has burned 788 acres. The Goat Fire and Highline Fire are about 23 miles east-northeast of Warren. Many old fire burn scars are in the area.
Outside of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Stage One fire restrictions are still in effect on the Payette National Forest. Campfires are not allowed except in designated areas listed here.