Mustang Fire forces evacuation — U.S. 93 from Quartz Creek to North Fork, ID

Red Flag warning day with leading east flank of 261,000 acre fire less than 2 miles from U.S 93-

After several days of gentle breezes, Aug. 9 began with a “red flag” warning over all of Eastern and East Central Idaho.  High winds and the super dry forest, grass, and brush covering the Salmon River Mountains could quickly flare into a firestorm down the steep side canyons. Mustang Complex photos.

A mandatory “level 3” evacuation has been ordered  along the U.S. 93 corridor from the small town of North Fork north to Quartz Creek, including the small town of Gibbonsville. The fire is coming over the last ridge top before the major route highway, which remains open to Montana for now. Over 900 firefighters are camped in the broad pasture near the North Fork of the Salmon River just north of North Fork. North Fork is the recreation and travel crossroads where U.S. 93 and the Salmon River (Canyon) paved road meet.

Level Three Evacuation in effect for Highway 93 area including Gibbonsville

The Lemhi County Sheriff has placed an immediate level 3 evacuation order in effect for residents along the Highway 93 corridor from Quartz Creek to North Fork.
The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning from noon to 9pm on Sunday for portions of Idaho including the Highway 93 corridor in the Gibbonsville and North Fork areas. Winds are expected to be in excess of 25 mph on Sunday and Monday. The Mustang Fire is now less than 2 miles of Highway 93 and rapid movement is possible.
Residents are advised to leave immediately to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion.
Residents are asked to stop or call the Red Cross shelter at the Salmon Valley Baptist Church when exiting the area so officials can account for all residents. The church is located at 1140Cemetery Street in Salmon, (208) 756-3324.
Meals, showers and cots will be provided free of charge.
Highway 93 remains open, however expect delays due to fire traffic and associated activity.
Idaho Department of Transportation can be reached at 511 or for information on road status.

Idaho’s two other biggest fires, Halstead, NE of Stanley and Trinity Ridge, just NW of Featherville (recently saved town) continue to  grow slowly and are also expected to get winds today.

Powell-Selway-Bitterroot fires complex- Eight fires and numerous more small fires totaling 40,000 acres are now burning in and near the vast Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana (1 fire). These fires in the Clearwater and Bitterroot Mountains were all started by lightning. The three largest are the Fern, Cedar and Freeze Out Queen fires. Due to the large number of fires and that they are well distributed across the landscape, there is a danger of many burning together if the dry weather continues and is aided by winds. Here is the InciWeb site for the fire complex.


  1. jerry collins Avatar

    If wolves can’t live there anymore, I hope it all burns down…especially the capitol building…KARMA!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan