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Weather gives firefighters a chance to catch up

 
September 8, 2022

By Andrew O'Neel
Boundary County Public Information

Fires in the Kootenai River Complex continued to grow Thursday but their behavior has been tempered by the lighter winds and higher humidity. The Eneas Peak, Trout, and Katka fires saw relatively little growth. The Scotch and Russell Fires have grown together into one fire that will be called the Russell Fire. The Katka Fire spotted about 100 yards north, which grew into a half-acre spot fire. But fire managers are confident that the Katka Fire will not spread much due to the wetter fuel types it has to burn through, coupled with the more favorable wind and humidity.

Fire behavior specialists say the Katka Fire could grow a little bit to the south/southwest through a saddle but expect it will not make a run based on fuel type, terrain and weather.

The Russell Fire, which now includes the former Scotch Fire, has been burning slowly down towards Westside Road and a finger is expected tonight to contact the primary dozer line that is part of a series of defenses built over the past several days. Once it hits the line it is expected to burn out due to lack of fuel.

Firefighters are ready tonight on Westside Road with lots of resources, water, and heavy staffing, and will mop up the fire as it slowly comes downhill and burns itself out.

Fire behavior is expected to significantly decrease overnight, and no spot fires are expected due to very low winds.

Dedicated structure protection teams have completed all of their preparations in coordination with homeowners on Westside Road and are ready just in case.
Firefighters will continue managing the fire similarly tomorrow as it comes down slowly and makes contact with the fire line.

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