The Central Idaho dispatch zone, which includes the Salmon-Challis National Forest, Bureau of Land Management lands in the Challis and Salmon districts, state-owned lands in the region and private forest lands, was moved to extreme fire danger July 15. Stage one fire restrictions are in effect, which means fires can be built only in established fire pits. Smoking outside on public lands is prohibited. Stage one fire restrictions have been in place in the Sawtooths since July 2. But Sawtooth National Forest spokeswoman Julie Thomas said people are still lighting fires outside authorized burn pits. This is not the summer to break the fire rules, she said. That was the case for a 1-acre fire at Yellow Belly Lake on July 9, Thomas said. Despite Forest Service workers posting signs and advertising the restrictions, someone lit an open fire on dry dirt that Friday afternoon which caused the fire. While the burned area was small, firefighters spent two days putting it out. “It could have been tragic,” she said, had a helicopter not been able to dump water on the fire the day it started. The largest fire burning in Central Idaho is the Mud Lick Fire. Burning 24 miles west of Salmon it was started by lightning, according to Steve Best with the Great Basin Incident Management Team. The fire was reported July 8. Best’s team arrived on the scene July 12 when it was burning on 4,042 acres. The next morning the fire had increased to 5,263 acres. There are 246 firefighters on the scene. The fire is zero percent contained. It’s burning in rough vertical terrain in the 2000 Clear Creek Fire burn scar headed south into the drainage north of Blackbird Mountain. Firefighters are working to keep the fire west of Panther Creek and away from mine infrastructure and assessing how to protect private property in the area. Aerial efforts at the Mud Lick fire have been hampered by smoky conditions from fires burning throughout the Western United States. The Mud Lick Fire prompted the closure of multiple forest trails including Lick Creek, Birch Creek, Indian Creek, Grant Ridge and Big Deer. Flights are banned within a 5-mile radius of the fire. It’s also contributed to the burn restrictions implemented Tuesday in Lemhi County. All outdoor open burning is prohibited, but the ban on wood burning activities is voluntary. Department of Environmental Quality officials caution people that negative health impacts could occur if sensitive people stay outside for too long when pollutant levels are high. Other fires in the region include the 139-acre Fritzer fire above Salmon. It was reported June 23 and is 80 percent contained. In the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the Honeymoon and Countess fires are burning. The fire near Honeymoon Lake, reported July 11, is burning on about 3 acres. It was caused by lightning. The Countess fire was reported July 5 and was contained to three-fourths of an acre. The lightning-caused Long Fire was kept to four acres after burning 14 miles southeast of Leadore. It was reported July 8 and called out July 10. The Carl Gulch Fire was reported July 7. It is now out after burning a quarter of an acre 6 miles northeast of North Fork. Another quarter of an acre burned in the Sheep Fire, 7 miles northeast of North Fork. It was reported July 7 and is now out. Also reported on July 7, the Aspen and Bachelor fires burned a fourth of an acre near Bayhorse Lake and three acres near Bonanza, respectively. Both fires are now out.