Monday, July 15, 2013

Frazier Fire Started by Cigarette: Help Find the Culprit

  On Sunday afternoon, July 7, nearly one-hundred-twenty firefighters and other emergency workers battled the 266-acre Frazier Creek Fire, located about five miles east of Banks along Highway 17 (Banks-Lowman Road). It burned actively late that evening, but quieted down overnight. Resources fighting the fire Monday included five hand crews, two dozers, three Forest Service/Contract engines, and three helicopters.
  The fire was declared fully contained Tuesday evening, July 9, at 6:00 p.m.
  Firefighters say the Frazier Creek Fire moved up-slope Sunday afternoon, pushing to the north about a half-mile from the subdivision of Frazier Creek. Officials with the Boise National Forest said flames in that area had been knocked down, and homes in the area were not in immediate danger.
  Fire managers used a pilot car to guide traffic through the area Sunday night. They said there was a danger of large rocks becoming dislodged and rolling into traffic, due to large volumes of water being dropped on the fire.
  Monday morning, Boise National Forest Public Affairs Officer, David Olson, said Incident Commanders were “cautiously optimistic” that they could hook it Monday, when approximately one-hundred-fifty firefighters would be focusing on the east and north flanks of the fire, which posed the most risk to the forty structures within the Frazier Creek subdivision. “If it goes up further, it moves into Terrace Lakes, but they are using some of the fire lines from last year’s Springs Fires, and it helps that there is now less fuel,” Olson said.
  Garden Valley and Horseshoe Bend rural fire departments had nearly 2500 feet of hose, along with engines and water tenders to help protect the subdivision. Valley of the Pines rural fire department was assisting in the effort.
  On the west side of Highway 55, the fire was burning in very grassy areas and they were working with water buckets.
  Late Monday, the fire was estimated at 270-acres, with a “scratch line” around it. “Suppression efforts were successful due to quick response of initial attack resources and the cooperation of county, state, and federal partners,” said Colin Good, Incident Commander. “With the hot and very dry conditions, along with extremely steep terrain, the work by the firefighters quickly reduced the threat to homes and properties.”
   Hot spots will continue to be mopped up and patrolled further into the fire’s interior over the next few days by the Idaho City Hotshots and a contract engine. One helicopter will be available to make water drops. 
  Structure protection at the Frazier Creek sub-division has been pulled and returned to the Garden Valley Fire Department and other rural fire departments. 
  Highway 17 is now open, but travelers still need to use caution due to the potential of rockfall onto the road.

  Investigators have determined the 266 acre Frazier Fire was most likely caused by a discarded burning cigarette. They are seeking help in gathering information related to the person responsible. 
  The fire was initially reported at 2:21 PM on Sunday and started on Highway 17, locally known as the Banks – Lowman Road between Garden Valley and Banks at Milepost 4.9.
 It has been determined that the fire started adjacent to the highway. 
Anyone who was traveling that section of the highway on July 7 and has information is asked to contact the investigators.
  Investigators can be reached at 208-373-4195.

  Dave Olson warns, “We’re three to four weeks ahead of the normal drying period and are seeing conditions more like August—people need to be extra careful.”

1 comment:

  1. I think it was a vehicle backfire that was the cause. I saw a carbon smudge on the asphalt right where the burn began.