The Big Cougar Fire has burned 65,000 acres; 50-percent contained

The Big Cougar Fire has burned 65,000 acres; 50-percent contained »Play Video
The majority of fire activity is in the southeast section of the Salmon River.
LEWISTON, ID - The Big Cougar Fire, burning south of Lewiston, is now 50-percent contained, however containment has come at a steep price.

Reporter Sophia Miraglio learns who's being affected by Idaho's largest wildfire and what crews are doing to reach further containment.

Directly behind me you can see where the back-burn operation began, and while this did provide for further containment crews are still busy in the southeaster portion of the fire."

"The majority of the fire activity, even though it's burning on the interior, it's down by the southeast section of the Salmon River," said ID. Dept. of Lands Public Information Officer, Meg Nemitz.

The Big Cougar Fire, which began over a week ago, has now burned 65,000 acres and counting.

"We still have roughly 440 firefighters on the fire and they're still using a lot of bucket drops with helicopters," said Nemitz.

So far nine structures have been lost, while 200 remain threatened.

"They re-evaluate their safety first, and then they work around what they get done in the allotted time before they have a trigger point set when they have to leave," said Nemitz.

Steep terrain and above average temperatures are proving difficult for firefighters on the blaze.

"We had a leg injury, we had an eye injury and we had a heat related injury," said Nemitz.

As ground crews continue constructing fire lines another back-burn operation is being considered on the southeast side.

A stage three evacuation remains in effect for residents along the Salmon River from the confluence up to Oxbow. While a stage two is in effect for communities of the Deer and Eagle Creek areas.