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Papoose Fire Continues to Grow Above the Salmon River in Idaho

Idaho helicopter
A helicopter with water bucket in Idaho. (USFS Photo)
The Papoose Fire, burning near the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho, has continued to grow in rough, steep and generally inaccessible landscape.

By Monday evening, July 15, the forest fire on the Salmon-Challis National Forest was estimated over 3,700 acres and portions were burning downhill toward the river. Crews are working along the riverside, trying to minimize fire impact on campsites and heritage sites, according to a news release from Tim Metzger’s management team.

Boaters on the Middle Fork of the Salmon are asked to check in at the Flying B Ranch to see if there are changes on campsite reservations because of the Papoose Fire.

Thunderstorms are predicted Tuesday evening and Wednesday, which could cause more problems for the firefighters. Right now, visitors can expect rolling rocks, falling trees and dense smoke.

Meanwhile, in Montana, over 30 homes were evacuated near the West Mullan Fire northwest of Superior. That blaze started Sunday near Interstate 90.

As of July 16, the Clark Fork River between Big Eddy Fishing Access and Dry Creek Fishing Access is closed, while helicopters use the river to dip water into their buckets to fight the fire. The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will keep that portion of the river closed until further notice.

The fire continues to burn day and night and is over 700 acres in size, with crews using six helicopters along with engines and ground crews to fight the forest fire on the Lolo National Forest.

The Red Cross has opened an evacuation center at the Superior Elementary School, 1003 5th Avenue E. in Superior. Motorists are asked to not stop alongside the road on Interstate 90. Many have been parking on the shoulder to watch the fire, which is causing traffic congestion.

The Lolo National Forest reported another fire in the wilderness – the Gold Creek Fire, which is over 20 acres in size. It was started by lightning.

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