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Kootenai River Complex fires at 85-percent completion

September 25, 2022

USFS photo
Water bar
Smoke and fog have been settling at low elevations and have been slow to lift during the day. This has made monitoring difficult in the mornings for firefighters but has also kept fire behavior relatively low. Dead and down heavy fuels continue to be the main source of fire and smoke. There are 221 personnel working the Kootenai Complex Fires, completion is at 85-percent.

The main operations firefighters are focusing on are patrolling fire control lines, mitigating hazard trees and snags, and chipping cut materials. Air resources were unable to fly recon routes yesterday due to the smoke and fog hanging over the area, but will resume as conditions improve.

The Katka Fire and Long Canyon Fire have shown minimal fire growth and will continue to be unstaffed and monitored by aircraft. Crews will be actively looking for opportunities for suppression repair in areas that will not impact secure control lines. Fire intensity is expected to remain low, smoldering and creeping through dead and down fuels.

Priorities are patrolling fire control lines and monitoring fire behavior, especially in canyons that have shown recent activity. There will still be chipping and hazard tree mitigation in the area.

The next step in managing these fires is suppression repair. Crews have begun constructing water bars along dozer lines where they won’t affect the integrity of the control line. Water bars are structures built by creating a raised mound of material diagonally across a flat area to prevent erosion downslope from water runoff. In this case they’re earth material, sand and gravel, piled across bulldozed fire lines.

Weather patterns will be warm and dry through Tuesday, but low wind speeds are expected. High temperatures in the valley will be up to the high 70s and minimum relative humidity will stay around 40-percent. Winds will be calm and variable through Tuesday at two to five miles per hour and gusting up to 10 miles per hour upslope.

Westside Road remains restricted to residents only. Additionally, the following National Forest Trails and Roads 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).

Temporary flight restrictions remain in place for air space over the Katka Fire (2-2384) and the Russell Mountain Fire (2-1621) for aviation safety. Remember that temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) 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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