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Bonners Ferry Ranger District Fire Update

BONNERS FERRY – In total, the Kootenai River Complex fires in the Bonners Ferry Ranger District are roughly 12,487 acres with 0% containment.

Crews conducted structure assessments and installed structure protection equipment on private properties located along the Westside Road. Bucket water drops were conducted to slow fire spread along the eastern sides of the Scotch and Russell Mountain Fires. Heavy equipment was used to start preparing old forest roads located to the west of the Westside Road as firelines.

On the Katka Fire crews scouted the fire area on the ground and by helicopter to assess the high risks to firefighter safety. Due to steep terrain, dead or fire weakened trees that could fall at any time, and a long hike into the fire area it was determined that an indirect fire suppression strategy needs to be developed. The overnight infrared detection flight mapped an increase in size of 1,707 acres on the Complex.

On the Scotch Creek, Russell Mountain, Eneas Peak, and Trout Fires Helicopter bucket water drops will be done along the east side on the fires if wind and smoke conditions allow. Heavy equipment will be used to construct firelines in some locations west of the Westside Road. Structure protection preparations on private properties located along the Westside Road will continue.

The night shift will monitor fire activity and patrol the roads near the fire area overnight. On the Katka Fire crews will look at existing road systems and other opportunities to develop a new plan with indirect firelines which provides for firefighter safety by reducing the risk exposure that existed by hiking into a remote location with dead trees and steep terrain.

Warm and dry conditions continue in the 7-day forecast with no precipitation. Winds will be light on Tuesday, Sept 6 and then transition on Tuesday night to dry and unstable conditions. A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for Wednesday Sept. 7 as it is forecasted to be hot, dry, and breezy.

Due to active fires and fire suppression activities, visitors are advised to avoid Ball Creek Road (FR 432), Trout Creek Road (FR 634) and trails. Additional trails to avoid include 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).

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. Residents of Boundary County, Idaho can visit https://www.nixle.com or text their home zip code to 888777 to sign up for emergency alerts. To learn more about READY SET GO, visit https://bit.ly/3wi0jMu . For more tips on defensible space for homes, visit Firewise at https://bit.ly/3PALyeG .

Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR): There is a TFR 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. Remember that temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones. If you fly, we can’t!