More than 11,000 acres burn in Hells Canyon

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by KTVB.COM

NWCN.com

Posted on August 30, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 30 at 6:31 PM

BOISE -- More than 100 firefighters are battling the Hells Canyon 1 and the Raft Fire on the Idaho-Oregon border. The two fires have consumed more than 11,000 acres combined.

The fires are burning near Hells Canyon, along Brownlee Reservoir. The Hells Canyon 1 Fire is estimated at 6,450 acres, while the Raft Fire is estimated at 4,690 acres.

Weiser District Ranger Greg Lesch says both fires were started by lighting around noon Thursday and are spreading quickly in remote, steep terrain.  They are threatening structures including Idaho Power buildings, the historic Mineral Mine site, Mountain Man Lodge and several private residences.

"Our biggest concern right now is with archery season starting up a lot of folks in the woods getting them out of harm's way," said Lesch.

Fire managers say the two fires will be combined into the Weiser Complex and managed by a Type 2 Incident Management Team that should arrive Friday night. Firefighters are expected to construct an incident command post at the Sage Rock Ranch just outside of Weiser.

"I guess the message is to stay as far away as you can," said Lesch.

Crews have been working to warn and evacuate the campers, residents, and hunters in the area. There is not a mandatory evacuation yet, but fire crews are warning people to stay out of the area.

Matt Sesker traveled to the area Thursday night, but was immediately told to leave.

"We pulled up and the sheriff told us to turn around.  We went down and camped someplace else," said Sesker.

Sesker was planning to hunt elk and deer but tells us when he went back to check on his spot it was burned.

"During the day you can't really tell because it's just all smoky and visibility is pretty bad but last night we could see flames and it was pretty big," said Sesker.

Fire managers ask the public to contact the Weiser Ranger District at 208-549-4200 for an update on area closures.  Containment is not expected until next week.

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