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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

North Idaho Daily Fire Update - September 1, 2015

FIRE DANGER:  EXTREME 
National Wildfire Preparedness is at the Highest Level (PL 5) Fires will start easily, spread rapidly, and quickly increase in intensity making wildfires very difficult to control.

WEATHER: 
Mostly sunny today with areas of patchy smoke.  Cooler than average temperatures, elevated humidity values, and at times chances for rain showers mark the forecast for the next seven days.  Max temps will be 70-75 in valleys and 62-72 in mountains.  20-foot wind speeds will range from 5-8 mph in both the valleys and ridge tops with gusts up to 20 mph in the afternoon.  Transport winds southwest 10-15 mph.

Stage II Fire Restrictions in effect within Grangeville & Coeur d’Alene Dispatch Restriction Areas*
·         For the latest air quality rating:  http://www.deq.idaho.gov/air-quality/monitoring/daily-reports-and-forecasts.aspx

Summary: While recent precipitation was welcomed and helpful to firefighters, much higher amounts of moisture are needed to create conditions safe enough for Forest managers to reduce closures.  Current closures will remain in place through the upcoming holiday weekend.  The following is a listing of active fires (table attached): 

·         Parker Ridge Fire- total acreage 6,559, 45% containment. Type 3 IMT (Weeks); 7/29 lightning start.  Location is approximately 20 miles NW of Bonners Ferry and 7 miles SW of Porthill, ID.  Fire personnel: 82.  The recent .8 inches of rain over the weekend combined with cooler temperatures and light winds aided suppression efforts.  Crews increased containment from 27% to 45% yesterday.  A Stage I Alert is in effect for residents in the Kootenai River Valley from Trout Creek to the north on the Westside Road, and from Copeland to Porthill on the Farm to Market Road and west of Highway 1. The Westside Road north of Copeland Road is open to local traffic only, as a significant number of hazard trees have fallen across the road. Drivers are urged to reduce speed on public roads around Highways 1 and 95, and throughout the fire area.  Fire information:  208-267-6773   Email:parkerridgefireinfo@gmail.com

·         Clark Fork Complex- total acreage 15,700 acres, Type 2 IMT (Hutton); 8/14 start.   Located in N. Idaho and NW Montana.  Fire personnel: 374. Complex includes the following fires with most recent acreage updates:  Scotchman Peak (2,057 acres), Whitetail (1,859 acres), Sawtooth* (2,425 acres), Marten Creek (6 acres), Napolean* (8740 acres), and Government* (399 acres).  None of the fires on the complex have progressed toward the Ross Creek Cedar Grove. An emergency Forest closure remains in effect for the area around the Scotchman Peak Fire. There has been a large amount of recreation traffic below the fire front and the public is urged to stay out of this area.  Upcoming public meeting tomorrow9/2/15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Clark Fork High School.  *these fires are under Kootenai National Forest ownership.  Fire information: 406-847-9974 or 406-827- 0731.clarkfork2015@gmail.com   

·         Avery Fire Complex - total acreage 5,404 acres, 1% containment.  Type 2 IMT (Rosenthal) will assume responsibility for the incident today; 8/11 lightning starts, located in the southeastern portion of the St. Joe Ranger District, approx. 7 miles SW of Avery, ID.  Fire personnel:  197. Complex now includes 4 fires as Pretty Fire was recently added:  Pretty (256 acres), Marble Creek (3,234 acres), Crater (592 acres), and Breezy (1,322 acres).  Moderate fire behavior with smoldering, creeping and single tree/ group torching in timber stands.  Areas along the fire perimeter and interior that contain heat continue to burn actively.  Crews began to confine eastern point of Breezy Fire with excavator line.  Emergency Forest closures include most of the St. Joe Ranger District south of Highway 50 and the St. Joe River, east of Marble Creek Road and west of Forest Road 218 (Red Ives Rd.) Highway 50 and the St. Joe River Road and campgrounds along the river remain open. Highway 50 into Montana over Gold Pass beyond the Forest Road 218 junction is closed.  Fire information: 208-262-3910.

·         Tower Fire – total acreage 25,444, 22% containment.  Alaska IMT (Kurth); 8/11 lightning start, located 17 mi. north of Newport, WA and 6 mi. west of Priest Lake, ID.    Fire personnel:  761.  (Part of Kaniksu Complex which includes fires in Washington and Idaho:  Baldy (515 acres, 95% containment), Onata (540 acres, 39% containment), Hall Mountain (46 acres), Grease Creek (615 acres), Slate Creek (1 acre), and South Fork Slate Creek Trail (125 acres). The Colville NF is managing the fire with guidance from Idaho Panhandle NF fire management.  There was minimal fire behavior on the seven fires yesterday due to more favorable weather conditions; increased acreage is due to better fire mapping.   Firefighters were able to secure existing fire line and construct new line directly along the fire’s edge, particularly on the eastern and western flanks.  Beginning today, September 1, 2015, the current closure area within the Priest Lake Ranger District was extended to the north.  Visit the IPNF webpage for detailed information.   Fire information:  907-750-1639 or 208-443-6835 or  towerfireinfo@gmail.com

·         Grizzly Complex: 18,603 acres, 1% containment.  Type 2 IMT (Fry); 8/10 lightning starts (16 fires); located between Enaville and Murray Idaho, in the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River drainage near Grizzly Peak.  Fire personnel:  173.  All of the initial fire starts have since been contained or grown together; complex now consists of 3 larger fires and 3 medium fires: Lower Flat Fire (6,800 acres), South Bobtail (6,217 acres), North Grizzly (3,675 acres), Grassy Mountain (835 acres), White Rock Creek (752 acres), Steep Creek (295 acres), and other small fires combined (29 acres). 
A Stage 1 evacuation notice continues to be in effect in Shoshone County ID for the Hope Valley Road residents near Trout Creek, MT. Fire information: 208-784-0219.

·         Monument:  618 acres, 5% containment.  Local Type 3 IC; 8/21 lightning start; located on Monument Peak 15 miles North of Rose Lake on the Coeur d’Alene River RD.  Anticipate slow growth while cool moist pattern is in place.  Repeater structure is currently threatened. 

·         Snow Peak Complex*: Total acreage for complex: 6,850 acres, 0% containment. Local Type 3 IC (Juvan). The Snow Peak Complex is comprised of 11 separate fires within the southeastern portion of the St. Joe Ranger District including the Snow Peak Wildlife Management Area, upper portion of the Mallard Larkins Pioneer Area, and the Ruby Point to Yankee Peak area south of the St. Joe River. (Pretty, Ruby Point, Basin Creek, Trail 55, Caribou, Lightning Ridge, Chicadee, Game, Pole Creek, and My Ruby fires.)  A major portion of this complex consists of the Chicadee Fire (5,393 acres). Due to terrain, limited resources, and no immediate threats to life and structures, the Snow Peak Complex does not have firefighters on the ground. The Snow Peak Complex area is currently closed to all public access. *Due to limited staffing and resources on this fire, acreage and containment updates will only be reported weekly (Thursdays). 

·         Last Inch:  737 acres65% containment.  Type 2 IMT (Schenk); 8/21 lightning start; located 12 miles east of Clarkia in Glover Creek/ Woesner Ridge and into west Floodwater Creek drainage. Fire personnel:  99.  Fire activity continues to be moderate despite receiving light precipitation over the fire area yesterday.  Fire continues to smolder and creep through containment lines during the overnight hours.  Fire information:  508-400-3891lastinchfireinfo@gmail.com

·         Lone Mountain Fire: 135 acres, ignited by downed power line 8/29. Located approximately 15 miles north of Coeur d’ Alene. This fire spread rapidly due to high winds last Saturday, triggering a temporary evacuation of the area. Fire crews quickly responded and constructed a dozer line around the fire. Today, the fire is in mop-up and monitor status.

·         Not Creative Fire: 150 acres, 100% contained, 8/13 lightning, Type IV IMT on the local Ranger District is managing the fire which is on patrol status.  Location: four miles north of Rose Lake, ID, on the south side of I-90.

·         Big Lost Fire 940 acres, 100 % containment, 8/13 lightning start. Located east of Potlatch near Hwy 6, ten miles south of Emida; 3 miles N/NE of Harvard, Latah County.  The Ponderosa District of the Idaho Department of Lands is managing and patrolling the fire.

Additional Information:
·         Residents in most counties throughout north Idaho can receive evacuation notices by text message by registering with a service called “Nixle.” To register, text your ZIP CODE to 888777 for mobile alerts. This is a free citizen voice and text alert notification service.
*Definitions: Level 1 Alert (Get Ready) Residents should be ready, aware of increased risk and monitor emergency services. Residents should prepare and if needed, take early precautionary movement to relocate, especially those with special needs, pets, livestock or those needing transportation assistance.
Level 2 Voluntary Evacuation (Get Set) Residents should be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Monitor emergency services, a significant danger exists. It is suggested you voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends.

TEMPORARY WILDFIRE EMERGENCY CLOSURES ON IDAHO PANHANDLE NF

Emergency closures are in effect due to fire activity. See the Idaho Panhandle National Forest website for the full text and map of each closure Public is prohibited to go into or be upon these areas, roads, and trails. 

·         Priest Lake Ranger District (RD) - The Tower closure was expanded 8/31/15.  See website for detailed map.  Due to Upper Priest Fire: Road 1013 north of Lime Creek. Trail #308 and Trail #28.

·         Bonners Ferry RD  - Due to Parker Ridge Fire:  Parker Creek Trail #14, Long Canyon Trail #16 and Parker Ridge Trail #221. Previously closed trails remain closed. They include Parker Ridge Trail #221 (Sections 7 and 8 of T64N, R1W and sections 12, 13, 14, 15, 2, and 27 of R2W) and the Fisher Peak Trail.

·         Sandpoint RD - Due to Clark Fork Complex (Scotchman Peak and Whitetail Fires): The Scotchman Peak and Clark Fork Closures.   

·         Coeur d’Alene River RD – Due to Grizzly Complex:  The Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District Fire Closure encompasses the majority of the district land, south of Bunco Road (FS 332) and north of I-90. 

·         St. Joe RD– Due to Avery and Snow Peak Complexes:  The Marble Creek, Breezy-Chicadee, and Snow Peak Closures combine to encompass a large portion of the St. Joe Ranger District and nearby BLM and industrial timber lands.   Generally, all lands south of the St. Joe River and east of Marble Creek remain closed. 

Stage II Fire Restrictions:  The following acts are prohibited until further notice:
1.      Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, or stove fire.
2.      Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a designated smoking site or while stopped in an area at least 3 feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
3.      Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads and trails in accordance with existing travel management plans for non-commercial purposes including ATVs, UTVs, and pickups. 
4.      The following acts are prohibited from 1:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.  A patrol is required for one hour following cessation of all work as described in a, b, and c below: 
a.       Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine for felling, bucking, skidding, processing, road building, woodcutting or any other off-road activity during industrial operations.
b.      Blasting, welding, or other activities that generate flame or flammable material.
c.       Using an explosive 
*Private landowners within city boundaries should consult their local Fire Department for current restrictions in their community.

For information regarding fire activity and closures on the Kootenai National Forest in Montana, please see the Forest website:www.fs.usda.gov/kootenai

ACRONYMS:

§  IPNF: Idaho Panhandle National Forests
§  IPNF NZ: Idaho Panhandle National Forests North Zone (U.S. Forest Service) IPNF CZ: Idaho Panhandle National Forests Central Zone (U.S. Forest Service)
§  IPNF SZ: Idaho Panhandle National Forests South Zone (U.S. Forest Service) IDL: Idaho Department of Lands (State)
§  ICT: Incident Command Type
§  IMT: Incident Management Team
§  NF: National Forest

SUMMARY TABLE: ACTIVE WILDFIRES IN NORTHERN IDAHO – SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
Incident Name
Location
Current Size
Protection Agency
Status
Birthday
SZ – St. Joe
158
IPNF
Start 8/27; Snow Peak Complex
Breezy
 SZ - St. Joe
1,323.0
IPNF
Start 8/25: IMT 2 (Rosenthal) Avery Complex
East Fork
CZ – Coeur d’Alene River
20
IPNF
Start 8/22: IMT2 (Fry) Grizzly Complex
Grassy Mountain
CZ – Coeur d’Alene River
835
IPNF
Start 8/22: IMT2 (Fry) Grizzly Complex
White Rock Creek
CZ – Coeur d’Alene River
752
IPNF
Start 8/22: IMT2 (Fry) Grizzly Complex
Jack Waite
CZ – Coeur d’Alene River
1
IPNF
Start 8/22: IMT2 (Fry) Grizzly Complex
Steep Creek
CZ – Coeur d’Alene River
295
IPNF
Start 8/22: IMT2 (Fry) Grizzly Complex
Stony Creek
CZ – Coeur d’Alene River
30.5
IPNF
Start 8/21: ICT5, 100% contained;
Monument
CZ – Coeur d’Alene
618
IPNF
Start 8/21: Type 3 IC (Zuefelt); 5% contained
Pretty
SZ – St. Joe
185
IPNF
Start 8/21: IMT 2 (Rosenthal); transfer to Avery Complex today
Marten Creek
CZ – Coeur d’Alene River
6
IPNF
Start 8/19: IMT Type 2 (Hutton) Clark Fork Complex
Salt Pork
SZ-St. Joe
188
IPNF
Start 8/17: Snow Peak Complex
Crater
SZ –St. Joe: BLM land
592
IPNF
Start 8/15: IMT 2 (Rosenthal) Avery Complex
Lightning Ridge
SZ – St. Joe
25
IPNF
Start 8/14; Snow Peak Complex
Pole Creek
SZ – St. Joe
0.1
IPNF
Start 8/14: Snow Peak Complex
Game
SZ – St. Joe
35
IPNF
...