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Variable winds, dry conditions keep fire potential high

The Devil’s Knob Complex was 35% contained over 46,596 acres Sunday, with moderate fire activity on the north and east sides of the Smith fire within the complex. The Rocky Mountain Type 1 incident management team was scheduled to take over operations Monday at 6 a.m.

Firefighters constructed containment lines and strategically burned areas on the northwest and north sides of the 28,725-acre Smith fire, engaging direct attack where possible, according to Sunday’s update.

“In Ash Valley, crews are working to steer the fire north of the community and remain prepared to protect private property as the fire nears management evaluation points required to enact the structure protection plan,” the update said.

Over the weekend, crews prepared for strategic burning activities in the northeast section of the Smith fire toward Forest Service road 27, and firefighters in the south flank continued mop up operations around Zinc Creek.

Containment lines held on the west side of the 16,376-acre Big Hamlin fire Saturday, as crews continued strategic burning in the east and northeast areas. The south edge remains in the mop up and patrol phase.

A night operations shift was established and staffed Sunday on the Rough Patch Complex, allowing firefighters to leverage preferable weather conditions for burning operations, according to Northern Rockies Team 1.

Crews concentrated efforts on securing the northern side of the Chaos fire and western flank of the Jack, Buckhead and Near Minky fires within the complex.

Fire was active in City Creek and on the south side of the Little Bend fire Saturday, as firefighters strengthened containment lines and monitored for spot fires. Crews faced increased fire activity on the southwest edge of the 23,897-acre Jack fire and northwest side of the 5,541-acre Buckhead fire.

The potential for fire activity remained high through the weekend, with variable winds and warm, dry conditions.

The Patton Meadow and Willow Valley fires in the Fox Complex reached full containment this week. Firefighters completed mop up 300 feet into the perimeter, though terrain has challenged mop up activities in the interior, the incident management team said.

Smoke from smoldering and creeping fire will remain visible until winter snows. Both fires in the Fox Complex were caused by lightning Aug. 12.

Crews are slated to work in the Bootleg fire area in the coming months repairing damage to forest roads, cattle guards, bridges and other infrastructure. Hazardous tree removal near roads and recreation areas is a top safety priority, according to a press release from the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

The emergency closure area for the Bootleg fire was reduced to the fire perimeter this week, restoring access to recreation sites on the Silver Lake, Paisley and Lakeview ranger districts.