Dry conditions fuel local fires

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  • Courtesy photos Dry conditions and wind cause problems for firefighters.

  • 1

    Fire on Westside Road spanned private land as well as a small portion of the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge.

  • 2

    Photo by NORTH BENCH FIRE Fire south of Moyie Springs.

  • Courtesy photos Dry conditions and wind cause problems for firefighters.

  • 1

    Fire on Westside Road spanned private land as well as a small portion of the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge.

  • 2

    Photo by NORTH BENCH FIRE Fire south of Moyie Springs.

BONNERS FERRY — Deceptively dry weather has been problematic to firefighters this season, and it is only the beginning of fire season.

On Wednesday, May 22, around 9 p.m. there was a wind driven wildfire south of Moyie Springs that was approximately one and a half acres in size. North Bench Fire crews were dispatched, with South Boundary Fire and Paradise Valley Fire responding as mutual aid. Moyie Springs Fire provided aid and additional personnel. The firefighters got the fire under control and then Idaho Department of Lands arrived and took command of the incident.

Another fire took place on Westside Road on Sunday, May 26, at approximately 6:30 a.m. Slash piles had caught fire and the blaze encroached on the border of the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, burning into a small part of it, encompassing a total of approximately one acre. The dry conditions, combined with the wind caused the fire to spread quickly.

“We actually had spot fires 20 to 50 feet out,” said North Bench Fire Chief Gus Jackson. “This time of year, that is pretty rare.”

Due to the complexity of the location, multiple agencies were involved, including North bench Fire, South Boundary Fire, Paradise Valley Fire, Boundary Ambulance, and the U.S. Forest service.

“It was a good team effort,” said Jackson.

The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time.

Jackson encourages people to schedule a home assessment by contacting your local fire department or the Idaho Department of Lands at 208-267-5577. Alternatively, homeowners can complete the following form: https://bit.ly/2VmjxjS

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