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Kootenai River Complex continues to grow

September 7, 2022

Jon Kerby photo
A Sikorsky Skycrane draws water from the Kootenai River Sunday.
The Kootenai River Complex fires increased in size by 1,217 acres since Tuesday morning and is now at 13,704 acres, with zero percent containment. As of 6:46 a.m. today, the Eneas Peak Fire was at 1,884 acres, the Trout Fire at 2,744 acres, Russell Mountain at 6,511 Acres, Scotch Creek at 2,482 acres, the Katka Fire at 83 acres and the Debt Fire out. There are 207 personnel assigned to the complex.

Heavy equipment crews worked yesterday to construct fireline west of the Westside Road, through some areas of slash from previous harvests. Crews worked in tandem with an excavator to reduce vegetation along roads and dozer lines and started to set up hose lines along some sections. Engine crews completed setting up pumps, hose, and sprinklers and testing the structure protection equipment along the Westside Road east of the Trout, Russell Mountain, and Scotch Creek Fires.

Fire activity was calm yesterday with the most active fire north of Scotch Creek and south of the Russell Mountain Fires. Fire activity on the Katka Fire was creeping and slow, concentrated in areas of the large down trees on the north side.

Engine crews will work today to set up pump kits, hose and sprinklers for structure protection east of the Eneas Peak Fire and test the water delivery systems already set up at structures along the Westside Road. Heavy equipment crews will continue working on constructing fireline utilizing old roads west of the Westside Road.

A night shift of three engine crews will patrol roads near the fire area and monitor fire activity and structure protection equipment.

Helicopters will deliver buckets of water along the east side on the fires if wind and smoke conditions allow. Firefighters will scout for indirect fireline locations on the Katka Fire as a part of the process of developing a strategy that provides for firefighters to safely engage at the appropriate time.

A Red Flag Warning is in effect until 10 p.m. today. Temperatures will range from 74 to 90 degrees and relative humidity levels be as low as 18 to 28 percent. Winds will be out of the southwest at six to 17 mph with gusts up to 35 mph in the afternoon.

Due to active fires and fire suppression activities, the Westside Road is restricted to residents-only. Additionally, the following National Forest Trails are now closed: Ball Creek Road (FR 432), Trout Creek Road (FR 634), Russell Mountain (No. 12), Russell Ridge (No. 92), Ball and Pyramid Lakes (No. 43), Pyramid Pass (No. 13), Pyramid Peak (No. 7), Fisher Peak (No. 27), Trout Lake (No. 41), McGinty Ridge (No. 143), Clifty Mountain and Clifty/Burrow (No. 182), Myrtle Peak Trail (No. 286), and Burton Peak Trail (No. 9).

There are no evacuations currently in place, however, those living on the Westside Road closest to Ball Creek, Burton Creek and Clark Creek have been placed in the "set" fire evacuation status. Set is the stage of readiness before an actual evacuation takes place. If not voluntarily evacuating already, residents in this stage are advised to at least gather their evacuation supplies or pre-load them into their vehicles to enable a quick exit if evacuation is triggered.

Flight restrictions remain in effect in air space over the fires for aviation safety, to include flights by drone.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

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