Northwest Interagency Management Team 9 had welcome news Wednesday morning pertaining to the Jack Fire, burning between Steamboat and Dry Creek and largely on the 2002 Apple Fire scar.
The fire, which had been mapped at 13,795 acres Tuesday, was at an estimated 13,907 acres Wednesday, with most of that growth in acreage due to burning operations to help fortify containment lines.
After nearly a week of temperatures in the 90-degree range, cooler temperatures — high 70s to lower 80s — and rising relative humidities are expected to help firefighters add to their current 15% containment of the Jack Fire.
Most of the fire’s containment is around the northwest edge of the fire near Steamboat Creek. Crews Wednesday were focused on the fire’s southern flanks in the Calf Creek area, and back-burn operations are planned to help fortify containment lines along Forest Service roads 4750 on the eastern edge and 4714 on the west.
Air support remains available with a total of five aircraft available to provide water and retardant drops once the overnight smoke layer begins to clear.
Four firefighters have been injured working in the steep terrain, but all injuries were considered to be minor.
Structure support remains in the Dry Creek community, but crews reportedly have built in a strong defense for the homes in the area and the Dry Creek Store, as well as homes on Illahee Road.
As of Wednesday morning, there had been no change in evacuation orders due to the fire. All residents between Apple Creek and Dry Creek remain on a Level 3 “Go!” order, while the Steamboat community and anyone living between Eagle Rock Campground and Medicine Creek Road — including the community of Slide Creek and Soda Springs — are on a Level 2 “Be Set” advisory. Toketee Village and Clearwater Village are at Level 1 and advised to “Be Ready.”
Highway 138 East remains closed between milepost 38 at Steamboat Creek to milepost 55 near the Eagle Rock Campground. A “soft closer” remains further east at milepost 73 near the Lemolo Lake junction for all westbound traffic.