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Flames expected to reach Westside Road firelines today

September 10, 2022

Forest Service photo of a backing fire.
As of 7:46 a.m. today, the Kootenai River Complex fires are burning 18,464 acres in Boundary County, up 1,088 acres from Friday morning. Yesterday and last night the Russell Mountain Fire slowly backed down the slopes west of the Westside Road generating quite a bit of smoke. Light white smoke is an indicator of a low intensity ground fire burning through light fuels.

The observed fire activity was a low intensity, backing ground fire that slowly moved downhill and reached the fireline near Trout Creek Road and the Westside Road near Ball Creek Road in the evening. Fire crews and engines continue to be in place all day and night to hold the fire at these lines. The fire activity on the Katka Fire was observed to be low to moderate. The Eneas Peak and Trout Fires grew together in the drainage between Fisher and Farnham Peaks.

The three Westside fires now listed are the Eneas Peak, 2,298 acres, Trout, 4,389 acres, and Russell Mountain, 11,531 acres. The Katka Fire is now at 245 acres, up 26 acres from Friday morning.

There are now 332 personnel on the Kootenai River Complex, currently the highest priority fire complex in the region.

Crews will continue to work on fireline construction west of the Eneas Peak Fire using heavy equipment to cut and remove vegetation and set up hoses for water delivery. The fire is expected to continue to slowly back downhill and reach the constructed firelines west of the Westside Road in several locations. Crews have spent a week preparing these firelines, the roads and structure protection in anticipation of the fire moving downslope.

The current conditions with light winds are ideal for holding and securing these lines. Firefighters will be working in these areas all day and a night shift will take over tonight. The Katka Fire will continue to be monitored. Helicopters remain available to be used for water delivery as needed and weather conditions allow.

Temperatures are forecasted to increase over the weekend and with lighter winds from the north and northwest. Wind in the fire area will be terrain-driven, shifting from upslope during the day to downslope in the evening. Relative humidity levels will range from 50- to 60-percent overnight and drier in 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.

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, to include 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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