Fire danger ‘extreme’ in panhandle

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SANDPOINT — Fire danger is “extreme” across the Idaho Panhandle, meaning that fires of all types start quickly and burn intensely, according local U.S. Forest Service officials. Even with slightly cooler temperatures, people are advised to be cautious, as firefighters continue to detect and suppress wildfires across the forest.

Seven new fires were detected across the Coeur d’Alene Dispatch Area in the last week. Two were caused by lightning and five were human-caused. Firefighters are working incredibly hard to successfully contain new starts and limit their spread. Contained fires will be monitored until significant rainfall is received.

The Idaho Panhandle National Forests has two active fires. The North Fork Hughes Fire (1,582 acres) is located in the Upper Hughes Fork drainage in the Salmo Priest Wilderness on the Priest Lake Ranger District. The Buck Fire (146 acres) is located 17 miles southeast of Avery on the St. Joe Ranger District, and is 60% contained. Both fires are burning in steep terrain and heavy fuels. Firefighter safety is the top priority. Information on these fires is updated on Inciweb, under their respective names, at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/. For additional information or updates on fire activity, please contact Jennifer Russell, Public Information Officer, at (208) 661-5292.

Stage 2 fire restrictions are still in effect on all state, federal, and private forestland and rangeland in Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai, Shoshone, and Latah Counties. This also includes public lands in Washington and Montana that are administered by the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. For additional information, visit idahofireinfo.com/p/fire-restrictions.html or contact a fire restriction specialist at 208-557-8813.

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