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Fire crews prepare for winds, mop up continues

September 16, 2022

USFS photo
Hazard trees are fire-weakened or dead standing trees that have a high probability of falling over at any time posing a threat to firefighter or public safety. There are several sections of the Westside Road where the fire reached the road and has affected some standing trees, creating some hazard trees. As of this morning, the Kootenai River Complex fires are estimated at 20,821 acres, with the Russell Mountain Fire at 20,511 acres and the Katka Fire at 309 acres. There are 333 personnel working the fires and completion remains at 79-percent.

The overnight infrared detection flight mapped an increase in size of 77 acres on the complex.

Crews completed the chainsaw cutting work involved in thinning the vegetation along Westside Road north of Trout Creek Road. Firefighters started packing up the extra pumps and hose from structure protection locations and backhauled it to base camp. Mop up work continued in areas where hazard trees did not threaten the work area. Crews started cutting hazard trees in several locations along Westside Road.

Minimal fire activity was observed on the Katka Fire. A new fire was detected, located about two and a half miles southeast of Burton Peak. A hotshot squad hiked to the fire, estimated its size at .about one-tenth acre, and had it contained by the end of shift.

Stronger winds are predicted for today, so crews will remain alert for any change in fire activity along the fireline. Higher humidity levels may keep fire activity subdued. North of the Trout Creek Road crews will begin chipping the vegetation material that was thinned alongside the Westside Road. Mop up work will continue along the fireline south of Trout Creek Road. Firefighters will continue working on the hand fireline near Ball Creek Road. The squad will continue to mop up the new fire southeast of Burton Peak.

The Katka Fire will be monitored by air. Helicopters are available for air monitoring over both fires and for water delivery as needed if the smoke conditions allow for safe flying.

The weather today will be partly sunny with some haze. Temperatures in the valley will be 65-70 degrees with minimum Relative Humidity levels of 45- to 50-percent. Winds are forecast to increase in the afternoon to 15 to 20 miles per hour as a small frontal boundary moves through the area.

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. Temporary flight restrictions remain in place for air space over the Katka Fire (2-7802) and the Russell Mountain Fire (2-1621) for aviation safety.

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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