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CHALLIS — The Sawtooth National Forest has expanded an area closure for the Bible Back Fire northeast of Smiley Creek.

The fire has burned about 202 acres, but due to remote and rugged terrain, extremely dry fuels and high risk to firefighters, the fire has been challenging to suppress.

“The fire is burning in a location on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area that is far removed from communities,” Ranger Kirk Flannigan said in a statement. “So we’ve modified our suppression strategy in order to confine and contain the fire when and where there is high probability of success while limiting firefighter exposure and protecting values at risk.”

The expanded closure is for the safety of the public and firefighting personnel that continue to work in the area. The closure includes all roads and trails within a large area beginning northeast of Smiley Creek. It takes effect until Oct. 31 unless otherwise rescinded by the Sawtooth National Forest Supervisor.

A community meeting for an update on the fire takes place at 6 p.m. Friday at the Stanley Community Center. Information will also be provided on the ongoing air quality impacts due to fire activity throughout the west.

The Bible Back Fire was ignited on Aug. 17 from a passing lightning storm. It is burning in the southern White Cloud Mountains near Washington Creek.

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