Wildfire fight continues

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff Writer

The Trestle Peak fire in the Sandpoint Ranger District has been dubbed 100 percent contained, according to InciWeb. Trails 55 and 526 are still closed for public safety as fire officials look for hazardous trees. Trestle Creek Road will be graded next week from the snowmobile parking lot to the Trestle Peak Divide due to the increase in fire-related traffic.

The North Fork Hughes Fire in the Priest Lake Ranger District is over 1,000 acres. Several trails are closed in area, including National Forest System Trails 535, 315 and 317, plus the existing 512 trail closure from the 312 junction north to Little Snowy Top.

Several small fires have occurred in the Idaho Panhandle in the past week, said Forest Service Fire Information Officer Kary Maddox. However, she said these fires rarely make it onto InciWeb because they are often quickly contained.

“As long as it’s small and short in duration and they contain it quickly, (small fires) don’t make InciWeb, but residents should know that fires are still starting,” Maddox said. “Fire danger is out there, even if we don’t have very many large fires at the moment.”

Maddox said these local fires are not the ones causing smoky skies over Sandpoint. Instead, fires in Washington and British Columbia are the ones contributing to the smoke we’re seeing locally.

“Most fires in the Panhandle are so small that we don’t even see the smoke,” Maddox said.

One of those Washington fires is the Noisy Creek Fire, located east of Sullivan Lake in northern Pend Oreille County on the Colville National Forest. The Noisy Creek Fire is over 3,500 acres, and as of Wednesday was only 30 percent contained. Maddox said the dense timber fueling the fire contributes to thicker smoke in the surrounding region.

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