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County update on fire situation

 
September 2, 2022

By Andrew O'Neel
Boundary County Public Information

Photo by Shannon K. Schaeffer
Obscured by smoke, helicopter crews are hard at work
dropping water on fires on the West Side.
The Board of County Commissioners this morning unanimously declared a local state of emergency for Boundary County due to the numerous wildland fires that have spread significantly in the past 48 hours. The fires potentially threaten public safety, structures, private timber, livestock and crops.

The formal declaration of an emergency is the start of a process that, if needed, enables the county’s provision of emergency aid and assistance under the Boundary County Emergency Operations Plan. It also opens the door to potential aid from outside the county such as disaster aid from state and federal agencies in case the county incurs extraordinary expenses in responding to the fires.

The U.S. Forest Service is managing five significant fires in Boundary County. Late Thursday the Eneas Peak fire was 1,123 acres; the Trout Fire was 678 acres; the Russell Mountain fire was 3,107 acres, and the Scotch fire was 494 acres. Fire managers continue to assess opportunities to use aviation resources to confine these four fires, and engines are working along Westside road to protect private homes.

Substantial aerial efforts Thursday on the Katka Fire (including use of large air tankers, FireBoss aircraft, and helicopters) helped to cool hot spots and reduce fire spread to approximately 35 acres. However, today’s inversion may reduce visibility and impede aircraft. An Interagency Hotshot Crew began working on the Katka Fire Thursday, focusing on scouting for safe and efficient locations to directly engage the fire, as well as constructing suppression firelines around another adjacent small fire. Additional resources have been ordered to assist.

Approximately 36 homes in Boundary County have been notified that a fire is close enough to be of concern to their property. On Westside Road, about 12 homes between Burton Creek and Ball Creek have been asked to be “Set” to evacuate in case the Scotch Fire comes closer or multiple spot fire ignitions complicate fire suppression efforts in that area. On Katka Road up from the lookout point and on Two-Tail and Misty Mountain Roads, about 24 homes have been asked to be “Ready” for the possibility that they may be asked to evacuate if conditions change on the Katka Fire.

Firefighting aircraft and firefighters on the ground will continue battling the Scotch Fire and Katka Fire throughout the day.

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