See August 21 Update below.
The Moose Creek Ranger District of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is managing the lightning-caused Barren Hill Fire for wilderness and resource objectives. Reported at 12:50 on July 1, the fire is located approximately 17 miles SW of the Powell Ranger Station in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. The fire does not pose a risk to communities or other values such as timber resources or human improvements. Fire behavior over the month has varied greatly. Some days a low-intensity fire slowly burned on the forest floor with other days seeing much greater activity including significant surface fire, single and group tree torching and some short uphill runs. All aspects have seen some fire with different responses due to the variances in vegetation and fuel moistures.
Trail closures are in effect for the area, including the Barren Hill, Barren Creek, Wounded Doe Licks, North Moose and the North Fork Moose trails. See the “Closures” section on the top of the page.
It is likely the Barren Hill Fire will be a long-term wildfire, possibly burning into the fall. Due to variances in weather, topography and available fuels, some days the fire will become more active and produce more smoke than others. The area has a history of numerous previous wildfires which will serve to modify fire behavior and intensity, as it advances in most directions.
Fire plays an important historical role in this forest ecosystem by reducing vegetation accumulations and providing nutrients to the soils. The results of these fires include more open tree canopies encouraging species variety and less decadent brush and low-level vegetation which provides better browse for wildlife. Summer wildfires would traditionally burn from mid-July to mid-September. The Barren Hill Fire will be closely managed to ensure that life safety is never compromised and the best opportunities to return wildland fire to the landscape and resume its natural role are utilized.
Shissler Peak lookout and periodic patrol and helicopter flights have been monitoring the fire.
August 21 update (Future updates may not be daily unless there is significant activity to report.)
Fire activity on the Barren Hill Fire has been minimal for the past two weeks. Early August storms produced enough moisture to drastically modify the fire behavior observed in July. With only minimal growth observed, infrared mapping flights have not been ordered. As a result, the reported acreage has not changed. The area trail closures are still in effect. Our patrols continue to monitor and report back, including with photos.
Barren Hill Fire Facts
• Reported: 12:50 on July 1
• Cause: Lightning
• Location: Approximately 17 miles SW of the Powell Ranger Station in the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness Area
• Jurisdiction: US Forest Service Moose Creek Ranger District
• Incident Commander – Moose Creek Fire Management
• Size: Last mapped by infrared on August 1 at 554 acres
• Fuels: Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and brush
• Current Actions: Monitor the fire’s progress with lookout towers and air resources
• Social Media Hashtag: #BarrenHillFire, #MooseCreekRD, #NPClwNF