Fire crews shift focus on Pine Creek fire to land rehab

Fire crews shift focus on Pine Creek fire to land rehab
Crews spray water on flames during a burnout on the Pine Creek fire. Burnouts are controlled fires designed to consume vegetative fuels in the path of a wildfire.

BOISE, Idaho - Firefighting on the Pine Creek Fire continues to shift from active suppression to rehabilitation with the fire 90 percent contained, fire managers said Tuesday.

A local management team will take charge of the 2,797 acre fire Tuesday evening, relieving a regional incident response team.

Grimes Creek Road is fully open, but other access restrictions remain in place. Warms Springs Road is closed.

Firefighters plan to patrol the fire while rehabilitating land damaged by suppression efforts. The fire didn't fully consume the vegetation on those nearly 3,000 acres, so fire managers expect some smoke over the next few days as the fire continues to smolder.

The outlook for the vegetation is promising, fire managers said.

"The fire burned at varying intensity over the terrain, producing a mosaic pattern. In some areas within the fire perimeter, the fire burned with such intensity that it consumed all visible vegetation, while in other areas it burned light enough to consume only the vegetation at ground level," fire managers explained in a bulletin Tuesday morning. "This variation in heat and duration allows for regeneration of the vegetation to occur more rapidly. Many of the tree and shrub species are fire-dependent and will prosper in the recently affected ecosystem."