By Lyndsie Kiebert
The Cougar Fire, a long-burning wildfire located five miles east of Hope, appears to be near containment according to Idaho Panhandle National Forests.
The fire — which started July 27 due to lightning — is just over 7,800 acres, more than 80-percent contained and is burning mostly in steep, brushy terrain. Control of the fire was transferred from the Phoenix National Incident Management Team to a Type 3 team Tuesday morning, and IPNF reports crews will “continue work on fuel breaks and monitor fire activity.”
Work has resumed on Rattle and Wellington Creek Bridges, so the public should be aware of increased truck traffic from both construction and fire crews on Lightning Creek Road, IPNF reports.
An area closure remains in effect for the Cougar Fire area. The closure’s general boundaries are along Forest lands from Scotchman Peak to East Hope, from East Hope to Wellington Creek to Rattle Creek, from Rattle Creek to Lightning Mountain, and from Lightning Mountain to Scotchman Peak, according to InciWeb. Find a map of the closure area under the Cougar Fire incident page.
“Heavy equipment is in the vicinity of the fire; be alert and keep speed slow,” IPNF shared in the latest Cougar Fire update. “Please respect area closures to protect forest visitors, firefighters and construction workers. Hazardous snags and active burning remain in the fire area.”