BONNERS FERRY — Repeated heavy rains caused two more mudslides in Boundary County, one shutting down U.S. Highway 95 and another exposing two cases of vintage dynamite.
Just shortly after 2 p.m. on Friday, April 7, the already precarious hillside in the 498000 block of Highway 95, near Mountain Meadows Road, again broke loose and covered both lanes of traffic with mud, debris, and trees.
Idaho Transportation Department crews were on scene, working diligently to clear the slide. Although crews had hoped to have the highway cleared by sundown, officials said the hillside was too unstable. When the roadway was clear, officials let 10 cars through at a time, reevaluating the situation between each group.
Boundary County Emergency Manager Michael Meier said, for safety reasons, the highway will remain open with only one lane of traffic flow.
Two days following Friday’s mudslide, a slide on Myrtle Creek Road (also known as Forest Service Road 633), revealed a long buried surprise. Sunday, April 9, a citizen discovered two cases of vintage dynamite about 8 to 10 feet below the road in a washout.
The Spokane Bomb Squad was called in and were assisted by Forest Service law enforcement officers, Boundary County Sheriff’s Office, and the Boundary County Office of Emergency Management. The scene was under control of the sheriff’s office and a deputy maintained the scene until Forest Service Incident Commander Mark Gray took ownership.
The dynamite is believed to be vintage 1974, according to Meier. It most likely was left behind when they were originally building the road, he surmised. With dynamite so inexpensive during that era, it was often buried and left behind rather than to risk transporting it. Meier described the 50/50 dynamite as “pretty potent.”
Although the explosives are gone, people are asked to stay out of the area for 72 hours as the roads remain unstable.