Wildfire Update: VERY HIGH Fire Danger

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (August 3, 2018) – Despite cooler temperatures, continued dry conditions are increasing fire danger on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests (IPNF).  The fire danger rating is currently VERY HIGH.  At this time there are no fire restrictions in place, however with windy conditions and “very high” fire danger, visitors are reminded to be careful while recreating in the forest.  A fire danger rating of VERY HIGH means that fires start easily from all causes and small fuels (such as grasses and needles) will ignite rapidly and immediately after ignition spread rapidly and increase quickly in intensity.  Small fires can quickly become large fires and exhibit extreme fire intensity such as long distance spotting.  These fires can be difficult to control and will often become much larger and longer-lasting fires. 

Wildfires on the forest that are being actively managed include:

Bonners Ferry Ranger District

Copper Mountain Fire (25 acres):  The Copper Mountain fire was reported on 8/2/2018.  Located approximately 4 miles east of Hwy 95 and close to the Canadian border, it is actively burning in subalpine fir and shrubs in moderately steep terrain.  Smokejumpers and firefighters are on scene.

Smith Creek Fire (370 acres):  The fire was reported on 7/28/2018 and is burning on National Forest System Lands at the head of Smith Creek on Lions Head Ridge, approximately 7 miles northeast of Priest Lake, Idaho and 19 miles west of Bonners Ferry, Idaho.  The fire was caused by lightning and is burning in subalpine fir and shrubs.  Operations are geared to protect private property values near the fire.  Sprinkler systems have been installed adjacent to structures.  Firefighters are actively engaged on the fire.  Fire activity is moderate, smoldering and creeping with an occasional single-tree torching.  Breezy conditions associated with a passing cold front were evident Thursday, but the fire was somewhat sheltered and did not show as much activity as previous burn periods.  Information about this fire is provided on InciWeb.

Slide Creek Fire (27 acres):  Located in the Myrtle Creek municipal watershed, the fire is burning in heavy logging slash on private timber ground.  A line has been constructed around the perimeter and crews are working on controlling the fire. 

Sandpoint Ranger District

Cougar Fire (500 acres):   The Cougar Fire was reported on 7/28/2018 and is approximately 5 miles east of Hope, Idaho.  Located on National Forest System Lands south of Wellington Creek and north of Porcupine Lake, this fire is actively burning in steep, rugged terrain. Fire is expected to continue burning with short range torching, spotting and rolling debris. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity should help to slow the fire spread.  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.  An ATV trail (# 642) will be closed this afternoon to ensure public safety; Trail # 120 will remain open. Information about this fire is provided on InciWeb.

Priest Lake Ranger District

Tarlac Fire (2 acres): This fire, located within the Priest River Experimental Forest, was contained on 8/2/2018, and expected to be controlled today.

Coeur d’Alene 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.  The fire is burning in a stand of grand fir/hemlock that contains pockets of trees with forest health issues, primarily root rot.  Firefighting resources are on scene and have a hose line around the fire.

Rampike Fire (80 acres):  The Rampike fire is located on the ridge between Clinton and Rampike Creeks, approximately 1.5 miles east of Forest Road 412.  The fire is burning below the Ulm Peak fire scar. 

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 and expect to contain the fire today.

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 have completed line construction around the fire.

464 Fire (0.8 acres):  Reported on 8/1/2018, the 464 Fire has been contained.  

For fire information on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, please contact 208-557-8813.