SMILEY CREEK, Idaho – The Sawtooth National Forest said Thursday it is expanding the closure area of the Bible Back Fire, and has called a community meeting on Friday to discuss the fire and the area's air quality.

The expanded closure is to ensure safety to the public and fire personnel who continue to work in the area, according to a news release. It includes roads and trails in the area (click here for all locations). The expanded closure also “will allow firefighters to utilize natural terrain features in order to be successful in confining the fire.”

Ranger Kirk Flannigan said in the prepared statement:

“The fire is burning in a location on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area that is far removed from communities. 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 order will be lifted once conditions are safe to do so, but for now the closure is in effect until Oct. 31.

The lightning-caused blaze was started Aug. 17, and so far has burned 202 acres. It is burning in the southern White Cloud Mountains near Washington Creek, about 11 miles northeast of Smiley Creek.

A community meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at the Stanley Community Center. Sawtooth fire managers and Forest representatives will answer questions from the public and provide information about air quality.

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