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Katka Fire grows to 159 acres, no homes threatened

August 8, 2022

Jon Kerby photo
Fires on the Westside looking across the Kootenai River early this morning.
The Katka Fire burned actively yesterday and last night as the fire consumed heavy dead and downed trees in steep terrain, growing from 83 acres Wednesday to 159 acres this morning. The fire is not directly threatening private property and firefighters are scouting areas around the fire for roads and locations to potentially construct indirect firelines. Overall, the Kootenai River Complex grew by 1,950 acres since Wednesday morning to 15,640 acres, with zero percent containment.

As of this morning's infrared overflight, the Eneas Peak Fire is at 2,059 acres, the Trout Fire at 3,373 acres, Russell Mountain at 7,204 acres and the Scotch Creek Fire at 2,844 acres. There are 261 fire personnel, not including local firefighters, engaged on the Kootenai River Complex.

The eastern sides of the Scotch Creek, Russell Mountain, and Trout Fires grew slightly yesterday, producing visible columns of smoke but the eastern sides of the fires were sheltered from the prevailing winds.

Structure protection and water delivery systems east of the Eneas Peak Fire are in place and being tested and improved. Heavy equipment crews are completing the fireline west of the Westside Road and connected handline around Fisher and Trout Creek areas. Crews are removing vegetation and installing hose lines to improve constructed fireline and roads east of the Scotch Creek, Russel Mountain, Trout and Eneas Fires.

Today, engine crews will test and improve pump kits, hose and sprinklers for structure protection along the Westside Road. Two helicopters are assigned to the complex and two additional helicopters are on loan. Helicopters will deliver buckets of water on the fires when wind and smoke conditions allow.

Firefighters are contacting private landowners near the Katka Fire and developing a strategy that enables firefighters to safely engage the fire through indirect fireline locations. A night shift of three engine crews continue to patrol roads near the fire area and monitor fire activity and structure protection equipment.

Winds are gradually rotating to become more northerly with lighter speeds. Temperatures will be slightly cooler due to the passage of yesterday’s dry cold front. Relative Humidity levels improved overnight at higher elevations but remains moderate. There is no precipitation in the forecast.

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" stage of the Ready, Set, Go fire evacuation protocol. 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. Residents of Boundary County, Idaho can visit https://www.nixle.com or text their home zip code to 888777 to sign up for emergency alerts.
Temporary flight restrictions are in place for air space over the Katka Fire (2-1234) and the Scotch Creek, Russell Mountain, Eneas Peak, and Trout Fires (2-1621) for aviation safety. Remember that temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems, or drones. If you fly, we can’t!

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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