Tuesday, October 04, 2022
46.0°F

Kootenai River Complex Fires Sept. 23 update

| September 23, 2022 11:00 AM

BOUNDARY COUNTY — The Kootenai River Complex Fires are estimated to have reached 21,501 acres in size.

The fires are still at 79% completion with 236 personnel with no evacuations currently in place.

With this cool and humid weather system in the area, smoke and fog is settling down along roadways below the fire, impairing visibility for vehicles driving both during the day and at night, incident management officials wrote. Firefighter crews and emergency response vehicles are staged all along Westside Rd as well. Caution is recommended when driving in the area: slow down, turn on your headlights, and move over for emergency vehicles.

About 1/10 inch of rain fell over the region Thursday Sept. 22 and had varying effects at different elevations, incident management officials wrote. Parts of the fire with heavier tree cover prevented a lot of moisture from reaching the ground, while the areas with more open ground and lower in the valleys received more moisture. Cleanup of hazard trees and flush cutting snags and stumps is ongoing along Westside Road.

Air resources were unable to fly recon routes Thursday Sept. 22, due to the weather but will resume as conditions improve. Firefighters continue to strengthen and monitor dozer and handlines during day operations and patrol and monitor the lines during night operations.

Officials said, Firefighters 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 with smoldering and creeping movement within the fire perimeter. Crews will continue to patrol the dozer and handlines and monitor fire behavior, with a focus on Fisher Creek, Farnham Creek, and Trout Creek. There will still be chipping operations in the area.

The Katka Fire and Long Canyon will be monitored by air. This period of low fire activity allows for the opportunity to plan and prepare for future events.

Temperatures will warm through the weekend while the daily low relative humidity will go down. Temperatures today in the valley will be 50-63 degrees with minimum relative humidity around 48%. Winds will be light through the weekend, blowing southwest and upslope at 6-13 mph and gusting up to 20 mph.

Due to active fires and fire suppression activities, Westside Road is 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).

There are no evacuations currently in place. Those living on the Westside Road closest to Ball Creek, Burton Creek, and Clark Creek are in READY fire pre-evacuation status. 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 .

There are temporary flight restrictions in place for air space over the Katka Fire (2-7802) and the Russell Mountain Fire (2-1621) for aviation safety. Remember that temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones.

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