Highway 75 Reopened in Blaine County, New Evacuation Orders Issued
UPDATE 09/08: State Highway 75 was reopened Thursday morning. The Blaine County Sheriff's Office again reminds drivers it could be closed at any moment. New evacuation orders were issued late Wednesday for the Pettit Lake Road and Cabin Creek Road. Everyone in the area was told to leave immediately.
UPDATE 09/07: The Blaine County Sheriff's Office has closed State Highway 75 Wednesday afternoon at around 3 p.m. after opening it up in the morning to traffic. The closure is from Prairie Creek Road to north of the Blaine and Custer county line. You can check the current road conditions at 511.idaho.gov
SMILEY CREEK, Idaho (KLIX)-The Ross Fork Fire burning through brush and timber in the southern part of the Sawtooth Valley has prompted broader closures in the area. According to the Blaine County Sheriff's Office the fire crossed State Highway 75 at around 3:30 p.m. and into the Pole Creek area just east of Smiley Creek. The U.S. Forest Service-Sawtooth National Forest said it was a spot fire just south of Smiley Creek that ground crews and aircraft were able to contain by boxing it in. High winds made the spot fire run roughly 200 yards.
The sheriff's office issued a mandatory evacuation during the weekend as the fire made its way towards Sawtooth City, Smiley Creek, Alturas Lake and surrounding areas on Saturday. State Highway 75 has also been shut down since then just north of Ketchum to the Blaine and Custer county line. The Blaine County Sheriff's office noted Tuesday the road block was moved further south where it was easier for larger vehicles to turn around, not because the fire was approaching the Wood River Valley.
The U.S. Forest Service issued a new closure notice for areas in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area which includes the Yellow Belly Lake and Pettit Lake just north of the Ross Fork Fire. The closure extends southward from the 4th of July road to Paradise Peak and applies to all roads and trails within the closure area.
The latest update on the lightning caused fire estimated it has burned 24,026 acres and is only four percent contained. Hot and dry winds helped fuel the fire and push it into the Beaver Creek drainage, into the Smiley Creek drainage threatening the community of Smiley Creek, and into the Frenchman Creek drainage threatening the headwaters of the Salmon River.