LEMHI COUNTY, Idaho - Residents in an area near Highway 93 in Lemhi County are being asked to leave their homes.
The Mustang Complex Fire was burning 196,451 acres Thursday and was 11 percent contained. Active fire behavior west of Butcherknife Ridge has prompted county and state officials to issue evacuation orders. As of Thursday morning, Highway 93 was open. The fire had grown about 15,000 acres since Wednesday, and crews expected it grow more because of high temperatures, dry fuel and strong southerly wind gusts.
Different areas are under different evacuation levels:
- Evacuation zones E, F and I are now under Level 3. (Homes along Highway 93 between Hull and Sheep and both sides of the highway, and homes in the Hull, Hughes and Sheep Creek drainages.) Residents are strongly advised to leave their property immediately as there is immediate threat to life and safety. By Section 46-1008 of the Idaho Code, with the signed proclamation by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, an immediate evacuation of the area is required. According to a news release, the sheriff will use all reasonable means to evacuate residents from the area and residents will not be allowed to return until conditions are safe. (If you choose to ignore this evacuation level, understand that emergency services may not be available).
- Evacuation zones G and H are under Level 1. (Homes along Highway 93 north of Sheep Creek through Lost Pass Trail on both sides of the highway, and homes along Dahlonega Road.) Residents are warned that current or projected threats from hazards associated with the fire are severe. This is the time for preparation, precautionary movement of persons with special needs, movement of mobile property and pets and livestock. If conditions change, authorities said they will make every attempt will be made to notify residents and businesses.
- Evacuation zones A, C and D remain under a Pre-Level 1 alert. (All homes south of Copper Gulch.) This level is intended to allow residents time to make preparations in the event that any one of the evacuation levels needs to be implemented.
- The existing Level 3 evacuation for Indian Creek with area B remains in effect. All other homes within Area B are under a Pre-Level 1 Alert.
Under Level3 Evacuations, residents are strongly advised to leave their property immediately as there is an immediate threat to life and safety.
Hull, Hughes and Sheep Creek roads are open to local residents only.
Residents that decide to leave the area are asked to stop by the North Fork Fire Station to leave their name and address for the sheriff. This information will help the sheriff's office in determining how many residents remain in the area.
The American Red Cross of Greater Idaho announced that it is opening a Welcome Center in Salmon to accommodate victims of the Mustang Complex Fire. The center is in the Salmon Valley Baptist Church at 1140 Cemetery Lane. There are caseworkers on site to provide evacuees with food and shelter. Additional Red Cross volunteers in Idaho Falls and Pocatello on standby, and more resources are ready to travel to Salmon if necessary.
The fire was ignited by lightning July 30.
For more information, call the Fire Information Office at (208) 865-2207.