UPDATE 3:10 P.M.: The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Stage 2 evacuation alert between Lodge Creek and Big Horse Canyon on the south side of the Clearwater River east of Kooskia. The area is roughly between Mile Post 85 and Mile Post 93 on U.S. Highway 12. The fire has not crossed the river but is threatening lines on the north side, according to fire officials.
UPDATE 2:43 P.M.: Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest officials plan to close the entire forest, with the exception of the Palouse Ranger District, to protect public safety. Dozens of wildfires on the 4-million acre forest are spreading rapidly because of high winds.
UPDATE 2:30 P.M: This morning's wind storm caused widespread power outages, mostly due to tree limbs taking out power lines. According to Avista, more than 10,000 customers were without power shortly after the storm hit. That number was down to about 6,000 by 2 p.m.
UPDATE 2:05 P.M.: The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Stage 2 evacuation from Riggins to Slate Creek and a Stage 1 alert from Slate Creek to White Bird because of the rapidly advancing Tepee Springs Fire. The fire has jumped from the south of the Salmon River to the north side.
Under a Stage 2 alert, residents are advised to be prepared to leave at a moment's notice. Under Stage 1, residents are advised to be alert to the threat and to be prepared for the possible need to evacuate.
UPDATE 2 P.M.: Hot August Nights concert organizers say tonight's show at Pioneer Park featuring Colbie Caillat will go on as scheduled.
UPDATE 1:50 P.M.: Forest Service officials plan to close a large portion of the Clearwater National Forest because of high winds and extreme fire danger.
The closure is expected to cover a significant portion of the forest’s 4 million acres.
“We are in process of drafting a large closure,” forest spokeswoman Elayne Murphy said. “In the meantime, we are asking people to leave and those who are planning to visit to make alternate plans.”
She said some areas of the forest, particularly on its northern end, will remain open.
“We want to make sure people have an opportunity to visit national forest land where it is safe to do so," she said. "We will define where we think it’s safe for people to access.”
More information on the closure order and the area it encompasses will be posted when it becomes available.
UPDATE 1:45 P.M.: The Thunder on the Snake Jet Boat Race has been cancelled for the day, organizers announced on their Facebook page. The racers will meet at 8 a.m. Sunday and decide what racing will be held.
UPDATE 12:20 P.M.: State Highway 14 along the South Fork of the Clearwater River is closed to all but local traffic at Mile Post 23 because of wildfire activity.
ORIGINAL STORY: A man was transported to the hospital with unknown facial injuries after being struck by a falling tree branch on Main Street during the Hot August Nights Show and Shine this morning.
The incident happened near Brackenbury Square at about 11:10 a.m. following strong wind gusts that suddenly hit the area.
Multiple vehicles that were on display in the car show were also struck and damaged.
Power lines and tree limbs are down in both Lewiston and Clarkston and the surrounding area following the sudden arrival of the expected wind storm, which had recorded gusts as high as 72 mph, according to the National Weather Service office in Spokane.
Power outages are being reported throughout Lewiston and Clarkston, including all traffic signals in downtown Clarkston.
A wildfire was reportedly burning in the vicinity of 22nd Street and Powers Avenue in the Lewiston Orchards.
Fire officials are responding to a number of smoke reports in outlying areas including one near Puffer Butte Lodge at Fields Spring State Park.
The Thunder on the Snake Jet Boat race has been postponed because of the wind storm, which has since died down significantly.
“Unless the wind just absolutely stops there is no way we will run the circuit race in this kind of wind,” said race official and Asotin County Commissioner Jim Fuller. “It appears maybe for today we are shot down. There is no way I want them running in this kind of wind."
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