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Scotch, Russell Mountain fires converge, moving toward homes

September 9, 2022

Hailie Drake photo
Russell Mountain Fire Thursday evening.
Kootenai River Complex fires are up to 17,376 acres, up 1,736 acres since yesterday morning. The Scotch Creek and Russell Mountain Fires converged into one 10,924 acre fire, now called Russell Mountain. The Eneas Peak Fire is at 2,191 acres, the Trout Fire at 4,041 acres, the Katka Fire is at 219 acres and the Debt Fire is back to being listed as one acre.

The east side of the Russell Mountain Fire is slowly moving downslope towards the constructed fireline and firefighters will be ready to hold that line as the fire approaches.

The Katka Fire is expected to continue its movement through heavy dead and downed trees in steep terrain. Northeast winds could push the fire slightly south today. Helicopters continue to be available for water delivery as needed on both the Katka Fire and the Eneas Peak, Trout, and Russell Mountain Fires as wind and smoke conditions allow.

Yesterday, fire activity on the Eneas Peak, Trout, Russell Mountain, and Scotch Creek Fires moderated with fire backing down slopes and burning heavy dead and down trees in the higher and mid-elevations, producing noticeable smoke. Due to the steep terrain, fire can spread when burning material rolls downslope and then fire moves back upslope. While fire is not threatening the historic Burton Peak Lookout, as a precautionary measure and due to the remote location, a crew wrapped the Lookout which is commonly done on historic structures.

The Katka Fire was active on its northwest side so two helicopters were used to drop buckets of water and reduce pockets of heat. The overnight infrared detection flight mapped an increase of 60 acres on the Katka Fire.

Today, crews will strengthen the firelines located along the Westside Road, working on clearing and removing vegetation and setting up hose lines for water delivery. The set-up of structure protection equipment along the Westside Road has been completed but all pumps, hose, and sprinklers will be checked and tested again today.

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.

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. To learn more about READY SET GO, visit https://bit.ly/3wi0jMu

Temporary flight restrictions remain 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.

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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