'All hell was broke loose': North Fork forges ahead through fire

Joshua Murdock

NORTH FORK, IDAHO – When Michael Pickens stepped out of the kitchen and looked south out the Waters Edge restaurant door on July 17, he saw a massive plume of smoke rising about 5 miles south on U.S. Highway 93.

The Moose fire had just ignited.

“And then the next morning all hell was broke loose,” Pickens said. The fire, about 22 miles south of Lost Trail Pass and the Montana-Idaho border, quickly grew into a large, active wildfire. It earned the top priority for air resources nationwide a week later and has burned almost 40,000 acres so far. The fire was 15% contained on Wednesday with critical fire weather ahead and fire growth to the west, south and east.

In North Fork, the fire came within yards of The Village at North Fork, a campground, lodge, store and cafe that’s a hub for Highway 93 travelers and rafters heading to and from the Salmon River. Co-owner Cassidy Fry, who operates the business with her partner, Matt Amick, said that “everybody had to kind of go and flee” when the fire started, and the business varied its hours some days last week and was entirely closed Sunday. 

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