BONNERS FERRY – Some of the equipment comes out.
In areas around properties where the threat is significantly reduced, Bonners Ferry Ranger District officials said Kootenai River Complex fire crews will begin removing protective gear from the structure where it is not. is no longer necessary.
“Crews will communicate with owners as this happens,” BFRD officials said.
While equipment will be removed from certain areas, they said pipes, pumps and sprinklers will remain around properties that may still be affected.
Due to shorter days, lower temperatures and higher daytime humidity, fire activity on the Kootenai River complex has decreased.
While equipment will be removed from certain areas, pipes, pumps and sprinklers will remain around properties that may still be impacted.
“However, a season-ending event has yet to occur and the fire persists across the landscape,” ranger district officials said. “Expect to see continuous smoke until snow falls or heavy rain.”
As expected, officials said warmer, drier weather on Tuesday led to an uptick in fire activity. Fire officials continue to check all areas of the blaze and said helicopters would be used to drop water to cool the edge of the fire if necessary.
Additionally, a fuel break along the bulldozer line on Clark Creek was completed and water bars were added to the Ball Creek and Clark Creek handlines to prevent erosion.
“Firefighters are checking and cooling the remaining heat in areas where the fire has burned to the line of control,” ranger district officials said. “Crews continue to check fire lines and test pumps and sprinkler systems.”
Although the Long Canyon and Katka fires showed a slight increase in fire behavior, this was not enough to cause concern. The fires remain unmanned and firefighters continue to monitor them from the air and vantage points.
And while the threat is less, area residents should be aware that the Bonners Ferry Ranger District closures remain in place. The main fire closure area extends from Long Canyon Trail #16 north of the resort to Cascade Creek Road #2411 south. Trails 182 and 143 remain closed for the Katka fire.
“These closures are for the safety of the public and firefighters and will be assessed throughout the duration of the fires and in winter and spring,” officials said. “Fire and post-fire hazards may remain, and USFS will provide notifications as status changes occur.”
The fire has burned approximately 22,787 acres.
Diamond Watch Fire
Efforts are being made to prevent the Diamond Watch Fire from crossing roads to the south, east and west of the blaze as well as at Diamond Creek on the northern edge of the blaze, officials said.
Since being sparked by a lightning strike in mid-July, the Diamond Watch Fire has burned 1,220 acres. Located 5.5 miles west of Nordman, the fire has 16 firefighters assigned to the blaze.
Columbus and Bear Gulch fires
Located 6 miles northeast of Murray, the Columbus Fire has burned 2,298 acres and is 0% contained. Fire straddles Idaho/Montana corner near Columbus Creek drainage
Located 6 miles east of Murray, the Bear Gulch Fire has burned 144 acres since it was sparked by lightning in mid-August.
Fire officials expect both fires to be contained by the end of October.
Closure, evacuations and information
• On the Kootenai River complex, the following forest service trails and roads are closed: Ball Creek Road (FR 432), Trout Creek Road (FR 634), Russell Mountain (#12), Russell Ridge (#92 ), Ball and Pyramid Lakes (#43), Pyramid Pass (#13), Pyramid Peak (#7), Fisher Peak (#27), Trout Lake (#41), McGinty Ridge (#143 ), Clifty Mountain and Clifty/Burrow (#182), Myrtle Peak Trail (#286) and Burton Peak Trail (#9). Westside Road is for residents only.
• At the Diamond Watch Fire, closure orders are in effect for Forest Service Roads 311, 308, and 1362H near the fire. However, FSR 1362 remains open. Petit Lake and its associated campsites are within the closure area.
Some camping areas along the southwest portion of Sullivan Creek Road have been advised that they are on a “prepared” evacuation status and should be ready to go if requested by local officials.
• In the Coeur d’Alene Ranger District, closures include Trail 148 along Casper Creek, Trail 7 from the intersection with Trail 774 to Thompson Pass, Trail 1107 near the state line , Trail 763 near the state line, Forest Service Road 938, FSR 430 and FSR 604CZ.
• All modes of travel are prohibited (on foot, mechanized, motorized and livestock) on closed roads and areas.
• A temporary flight restriction is in place on the Katka fire as well as the Scotch Creek, Russell Mountain, Eneas Peak and Trout fires. As a reminder, civilian drones are not allowed around active fires. Flying drones near an emergency scene is against the law and requires firefighters to ground their flights.