Status Report

Fires Plaguing Idaho

By SpaceRef Editor
August 19, 2013
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Fires continue to ignite parts of the West. In this image, fires in Idaho and Wyoming can be seen.

The Hardluck Fire was started by lightning on July 17, 2013 deep in the wilderness. The small two acre fire was discovered on July 20 by a fire detection flight, but the inaccessible terrain precluded sending crews in safely. Now the fire is almost 20,000 acres in size, and increasing in size and activity due to winds from the southwest. Warm dry weather is forecast for the next 2-3 days so the fire is expected to burn actively.

Lighting also caused the Gold Pan Complex fire, which started on July 16th. This fire has grown steadily within the Frank Church, River of No Return Wilderness of Idaho. It has been growing in stands of mixed conifer trees, many that have significant bug kill. The fire has been able to burn even in past fire areas due to high temperatures, low humidity and extreme terrain. The fire has consumed over 27,000 acres and its potential for growth is extreme.

The Eureka fire, too, began from a lightning strike on August 12, 2013. Almost 5,500 acres, the fire is only 15% contained. The next couple of day’s weather will test firefighter’s efforts as the weather conditions are favorable for fire growth.

The Beaver Creek fire ignited on August 7, 2013 by a lightning strike has grown to over 100,000 acres. Beaver Creek Fire is burning around the footprint of the 2007 Castle Rock fire and threating the towns of Ketchum/Sun Valley and Hailey. Resources at risk include ski areas, homes, power transmision lines, Highway 75 and scenic recreational trails and camp grounds. It is only 8% contained at this point and potential for growth and terrain type are both extreme for this fire.

The McCan fire was started by lightning on August 07, 2013. At this point it is fully contained. The fire burned close to 24,000 acres. This fire area will continue to be staffed so that the area can be cleaned up. Rehabilitation of fire line, roads, firefighter camp sites, and dozer line will continue. The perimeter will be patrolled so that resources can respond to any fire activity as appropriate. The engines and crews still assigned to the fire will also be available for any new fires reported nearby.

NASA’s Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, MODIS, instrument on August 16, 2013. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS’s thermal bands, are outlined in red.


NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner with information from

SpaceRef staff editor.