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Work complete on Kootenai River Complex fires

October 28, 2022

Nine personnel remain working on the Kootenai River Complex fires, now at 25,402-acres, with work now reported at 100-percent completion. There is minimal fire activity with some flanking, backing and creeping. The fire is a mix of timber fuels including subalpine fir, lodgepole, larch, cedar and mixed shrub understory with huckleberry. Heavy dead and down logs combined with standing dead trees along with steep topography pose a hazard to firefighters.

This time of year, fire activity is significantly reduced due to precipitation, shorter days, lower temperatures, and higher daytime humidity. Expect to see continued smoke until the snow falls or significant rain occurs. Still, with decreased fire behavior, the threat is much less than it was earlier in the season. In areas around properties where the threat is significantly reduced, like those with cold burned areas around them, crews are assessing where structure protection equipment like pumps and hoses can be taken down.

Firefighters plan to conduct suppression repair actions where appropriate in the areas around Trout Road and Ball Creek Road. Using heavy equipment and hand tools firefighters work to take measures to repair damage to areas where firefighting action has occurred as well as remove some lingering dangers left by the fire. During this time firefighters will continue to remove handlines, hoses, and sprinkler systems, and work to remove snags while reassessing the area dangers and safety concerns as it impacts public use and travel.

During this work, firefighters will create log decks and slash piles as they remove hazardous fuels and restore natural areas. These log decks are not for public use and taking from the piles is prohibited.

The following roads and trails are now open: McGinty Ridge Trail (No. 143) and Clifty Trail (No. 182) and Cascade Creek Road (FS 2411) and Fisher Peak Trail (No. 7)

The following National Forest Trails and Roads remain closed while firefighters reassess the safety concerns for public use: The entirety of Ball Creek Road (FSR 432), Trout Creek Road (FSR 634), and Burton Road (FSR 2411). Also, the Parker Ridge Trail (No. 221), Russell Mountain Trail (No. 12), Russell Ridge Trail (No. 92), Ball & Pyramid Lakes Trail (No. 43), Pyramid Pass Trail (No. 13), Pyramid Peak Trail (No. 7), Fisher Peak Trail (No. 27), Myrtle Peak Trail (No. 286), Burton Peak Trail (No. 9), Trout Lake Trail (No. 41), and Long Canyon Trail (No. 16).

Please note that after our post-fire BAER team analysis, multiple high-risk hazards remain such as potential rock and debris slides, down trees and snags; the public should not expect Trout Creek Road (FSR634) and Ball Creek Road (FSR 432) to reopen until next year.

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests encourages visitors to enjoy their public land by following travel management guidelines to minimize erosion impacts, aid in wildlife protection, provide non-motorized recreation and hunting opportunities and protect natural resource values.

Specific closure area information for the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, including maps, are posted on the IPNF Alerts & Notices web page. Statewide information on fires and closures is provided on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Fire Map web page and prescribed fire plans can be found here.

In the opened areas, the public should be prepared to meet heavy equipment and other traffic on roads; be aware that weather conditions such as precipitation and wind can rapidly change conditions on the ground, especially in fire areas. Wind can blow trees across roadways and trails, and precipitation can wash debris across roads and trails, blocking access and raising stream and river levels. Forest visitors must be prepared to stay longer than expected due to changing circumstances. Preparing for the unexpected is the best plan.

Questions or Comments? Send us an email!

Mike Weland, Publisher

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
(208) 295-1016

A 9B Media LLC publication
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