SODA SPRINGS, ID— A fire near the Grays Lake Wildlife Refuge Headquarters is still running its course and continues to consume dead and down fuel.
The Tincup Fire was discovered on July 30 approximately 30 miles northeast of Soda Springs. It was caused by lightning and is now burning approximately seven acres. Higher fuel moistures and lots of vegetation are keeping it relatively at bay and allowing a slow surface fire to rejuvenate the forest. At this point, considering the above-average snowpack, precipitation, and historic decrease in fire activity, fire managers see minimal risk in allowing Tincup to play its natural role in the ecosystem.
The fire is slowly spreading towards the northeast away from private property, burning in rugged terrain within the Caribou Mountain Range.
The fire is expected to improve overall forest health, which is why managers are letting it run its course. Benefits include: reducing heavy dead and down fuel and helping prevent future high-intensity wildfires; stimulating aspen regeneration, which will increase habitat for a variety of big game species; reducing the risk of firefighter exposure; increasing plant diversity.
The Forest Service has established several management action points that will determine how the fire will be managed should the fire reach those points. These include modifying suppression actions if a possible increase of growth might affect range allotments, the general archery hunting season, private property to the north and west near Bridge Creek or impact the US Highway 34 and power line corridor.
FS lands often have vegetation and wildlife habitat that require fire to remain healthy and functioning watersheds. On forested lands, up to 60 percent more of the landscape burned historically than now, especially in the West. To diminish the “fire deficit” and thereby mitigate fire risk, the FS and partners are using this fire management strategy that protects values from harm, but also reduces future wildfire risk from excessive fuel accumulation. Fire officials will continue to monitor weather and fuel conditions daily to predict the fire’s spread.
Smoke from the Tincup Fire will be visible likely until a major precipitation event occurs or until it snows. Fire managers urge individuals to use caution and stay out of the area due to fire hazards. There are currently no closures in effect.
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