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Fire growth minimal, mop up begins

September 15, 2022

Yesterday, thunderstorms moved over the fire area bringing both lightning and varying amounts of rain from .45 inch on the south side and .10 to .20 inch on the north side. This moisture has kept fire activity minimal but has not put the fire out. The overnight infrared detection flight did not get full coverage of the fire due to scattered cloud cover. The total increase in the size of the Complex was calculated to be two acres, with the size of the Kootenai River Complex at 20,744 acres. There are 366 personnel working the fires and completion remains at 79-percent.

Due to wet and slippery road conditions, crews waited until the rain passed before directly engaging on the fireline at midday. Firefighters began mop up work south of Trout Creek Road and north of Ball Creek Road. Fire activity on the Katka Fire was observed as minimal.

A common term used in wildland firefighting is mop up. Mop up is defined as extinguishing or removing burning material near control lines after an area has burned, to reduce some hazards like felling snags (hazardous fire-weakened trees), turning logs to prevent rolling and reducing some residual smoke. Mop up is usually done by working in from the edge of the fire or fireline for a predetermined depth like 50 feet.

Higher humidity levels will likely keep fire activity minimal for most of the day. Vegetation thinning work to make the line more defensible will continue along the Westside Road north of Trout Creek Road. Crews will be mopping up along the fireline south of Trout Creek Road and constructing a hand fireline near Ball Creek Road. A fair amount of lightning was seen over the Myrtle Creek drainage so that area will be checked for any new fire starts.

The Katka Fire will be monitored and potential fireline locations scouted. Helicopters will be available for air monitoring over both fires and used for water delivery as needed if the smoke and weather conditions allow for safe flying.

The weather today will be mostly sunny with some haze. Temperatures in the valley will be 70-77 degrees with minimum relative humidity levels of 35-50-percent. Winds will be light from the southwest at three to six miles per hour.

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 and temporary flight restrictions remain in effect in air space over the Katka Fire (2-7802) and the Russell Mountain Fire (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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