Fire fighting crews make progress on the Johnson Bar Fire

SYRINGA, ID - Evacuations have been downgraded on the Johnson Bar Fire. Officials said back burning is helping them better control the blaze.

The lightning-fire has burned just over 8,000 acres and is 20-percent contained. Fire officials said while Tuesday's burn out has provided containment on the northern section of the fire, smoke is now limiting helicopter support.

"Because of the inversion we are unable to fly actually," said Information Officer Pat McKelvey. "When the river corridors hold that smoke, pilots need at least half a mile of visibility so if it's clear up on the fire area but inverted where they're filling they can't fly."

The stage-two evacuation for residents along Highway 12 has been downgraded to stage one, meaning people should be prepared to evacuate. Johnson Bar, Wild Goose, and O'Hara campgrounds remain closed.