Steady progress made on wildfires

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Gold Hill fire

Good progress was reported this week on the Gold Hill fire, with the lifting of hourly Pipe Creek Road closures, removal of some structure protection equipment and the promise of “a wetting rain event” come Sunday.

Still, fire officials advised that intermittent traffic delays and road closures might still occur if needed, and that pre-evacuation notice remained in place for Pipe Creek Road residents from mile marker 11 to 13.

Late Wednesday, the fire was reported at 6,523 acres and 28 percent containment.

The removal of structure protection equipment was reported taking place west of Pipe Creek Road, suggesting that such equipment remained in place on the east side. Fire crews were also reportedly continuing patrols and mop-up activities along Pipe Creek Road, as well as the fire’s southern edge.

“Air resources will be used to limit fire spread east of Shafer Creek,” states a Thursday incident report. “Crews will hold and secure the northwestern fire edge and will initiate fire suppression repair work.”

“Heavy equipment will continue road repair and removal of logs and slash produced during line construction on the eastern flank of the fire,” the report continues.

The weather forecast called for “multiple disturbances” to bring increased clouds and chances of showers and moderated temperatures and humidity through at least the weekend.

While management of other area fires has returned to the Kootenai National Forest, a Type II incident management team remains in charge of the Gold Hill fire.

Big Creek Baldy Lookout and numerous area trails and Forest Service roads remained closed. Closures can be viewed at www.fs.usda.gov/kootenai.

Sterling Complex fire

Local management of the Sterling Çomplex fire resumed Wednesday, with the Kootenai National Forest’s Rexford/Fortine District taking over the reins.

An incident report states the fire was holding at 1,405 acres and 85 percent containment.

“Fire activity has been minimal, with isolated areas of smoldering fuels,” the report states. “Fire personnel will continue to patrol the perimeter [and] mop-up interior smokes, followed by rehab work. Temperatures are expected be below normal with a chance of precipitation.”

Numerous roads and trails remained closed in the area. Closures can be accessed at www.fs.usda.gov/kootenai.

Davis fire

Local management of the Sterling Çomplex fire resumed Wednesday, with the Kootenai National Forest’s Three Rivers District assuming control.

An incident report states the fire was 6,614 acres and 40 percent contained.

“Resources continue slash removal and fire suppression rehabilitation,” the report states. “Fire behavior is minimal with creeping and smoldering, [and] no new growth. Updates will take place weekly or if there is significant fire growth or changes in the closure order.”

Various roads and trails remain closed in the area. A list of closures can be accessed at www.fs.usda.gov/kootenai.

Lawrence fire

A new fire popped up this week in the Rexford/Fortine District of the Kootenai National Forest, but was quickly contained to less than an acre.

The Lawrence fire is located in the area of Parsnip Creek and Lawrence Mountain, and reported to be human caused.

“Fire personnel made great progress on the fire [Tuesday],” an incident report states. “The fire is now contained. Mop up will continue to take place [Wednesday] and [Thursday] on interior smokes.”

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