Fire crews gaining control of Lewiston area fire


by TAYLOR VIYDO, & Associated Press

Posted on August 6, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 12 at 9:13 AM

NEZ PERCE COUNTY, Idaho -- Fire crews are gaining ground on the Big Cougar fire burning south of Lewiston.

As of Tuesday morning, the fire had burned 65,200 acres and was 70-percent contained.

Authorities have lifted evacuation orders for residents near the fire.

The stage 3 evacuation order has been lifted for people living along the Snake River. Officials said that area is now at a stage 1 until the fire is fully contained.

The Nez Perce County Sheriff also lifted the stage 3 notice for residents in the communities of Waha and Redbird. They are also at a stage 1 until the fire is contained.

On Friday, residents along the Salmon River from the confluence of the Snake upstream to Oxbow were under a stage 3 evacuation. Residents in Meadow Creek and upper Deer Creek were under a stage 2 evacuation.It means homeowners need to be ready to leave at any moment as 442 firefighters work to top the flames.

A stage two evacuation notice is also in place from China Garden to Captain John Creek. Zaza Road is also closed south of the Deer Creek intersection. Both rivers are still open but officials said boaters on the Snake River need to be aware of helicopter activity.

Three firefighters were also injured. Fire spokeswoman Jill Cobb says one firefighter received a 3-inch gash on his right leg from a chain saw and required stiches. Another firefighter suffered heat related problems and a third sustained a scratched cornea.

Witnesses along the fire lines said the flames destroyed four cabins on Wednesday evening. 

About 200 homes are being threatened. Nine buildings have already been destroyed. It is burning rough terrain west of Wapshilla Ridge and east of the Snake River. Authorities said 11 crews, five helicopters, 11 engines, five dozers and support personnel are fighting the fire.