Idaho Panhandle National Forests wildfire update

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (July 31, 2018) – Multiple wildfires were detected across the Idaho Panhandle National Forests following the lightning storm last week. Firefighters are working diligently to detect and suppress these fires as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible. Although the majority of the fire starts have been quickly contained, there are several wildfires on the forest that are being actively managed:


Bonners Ferry Ranger District

Smith Creek Fire (300 acres): The fire was reported on 7/28/2018 and is burning on National Forest System Lands at the head of Smith Creek north of Lions Head Ridge. The fire was caused by lightning and is burning in subalpine fir and shrubs. Fire managers are developing opportunities to safely engage. There are no road, trail or area closures in effect as this time.


Slide Creek Fire (10 acres): Located in the Myrtle Creek municipal watershed, the fire is burning in heavy logging slash on private timber ground. Multiple ground and aerial resources are on scene.


Sandpoint Ranger District

Cougar Fire (100 acres): Located south of Jost Creek, and north of Porcupine Lake, this fire is burning in steep rugged terrain. Smokejumpers were dispatched on Monday, however they disengaged because of safety concerns with falling trees and steep terrain. Fire managers are using manmade and natural features to confine and contain this fire.


Priest Lake Ranger District

Tarlac Fire (2 acres): This fire is located within the Priest River Experimental Forest and a Research Natural Area (RNA). Firefighters have a line around the perimeter of the fire.


CDA River Ranger District

Surprise Creek Fire (3 acres):  This fire is located south of Faset Peak, on a ridge between Surprise and Ermine Creeks in the Independence drainage. Although this fire is low intensity with creeping/smoldering, smoke may be highly visible from Highway 95 around Athol and other communities such as Lakeview, Bayview, and Hope.


Falls Creek Fire (5 acres): The Falls Creek Fire is located west of Fir Gulch, in the main Falls Creek drainage, in the #1503 and #151 road junction area. Firefighting resources are on scene.


St. Joe Ranger District

Quartz Creek Fire (30 acres): Reported 7/29/2018, this fire is located approximately six miles up the Quartz Creek Road north of Highway 50 in the Quartz Creek drainage. The fire is burning in thick, dead and down fuels. Heavy equipment was used to gain access to the area, but direct access to the fire is limited by steep rocky terrain. Aerial and ground firefighting resources are on scene. 


North Cemetery Ridge Fire (10 acres): Also reported on 7/29/2018, this fire is located approximately six miles up the #1907 road north Highway 50, and two miles west of Mastadon Mountain. The Fire is burning in heavy dead and down timber and also has limited access due to steep and rocky terrain. Firefighters are establishing a line around the fire.


Fire managers seek to employ the most effective tactics as they look for opportunities to engage each of these fires safely. With new fires being detected daily, and with continued hot, dry weather forecasted, public and firefighter safety is the top priority. Cooler temperatures are forecasted the next several days. Breezy winds and very dry conditions will raise fire weather concerns and the potential for rapid fire spread with any existing or new fires.


At this time there are no fire restrictions in place, however with dangerously hot temperatures and “high” fire danger, visitors are reminded to be careful while recreating in the forest. For fire information on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, please contact 208-557-8813.