Firefighters prepare for hot weekend ahead

Poor air quality forecasted into next week

By Lyndsie Kiebert
Reader Staff

Fire officials are anticipating increased activity at area blazes over the weekend, as a high-pressure system is expected to bring temperatures in the mid-90s to North Idaho, along with a chance of breezy conditions.

Nevada Type 3 Incident Management Team officials reporting from the Trestle Creek Complex Fire Aug. 11 shared in a media release that “rising temperatures and lower humidity values will likely cause an increase in activity, torching and short-range spotting.” 

A map of the Trestle Creek Complex fires dated Aug. 10. Courtesy USDA Forest Service.

There are currently 107 personnel working on the nearly 3,800-acre, two-part blaze four miles north of Hope, with firefighting efforts including the use of two hand crews, eight engines, two dozers, three feller bunchers, two excavators, two water tenders and one forwarder — an articulated machine with a cab and log trailer used to clear roads in forested terrain.

“With the rough and steep terrain where both fires are located, direct attack is unattainable with the resources currently assigned,” the management team reported. “Therefore, heavy equipment is constructing a contingency line along the south and west sides of the fire. The north and east sides will continue to creep and torch, but there is a low potential of threatening any homes.”

As of Aug. 11, the Trestle Creek, Trout Creek and Flume Creek communities remain in a “ready” level evacuation status. Local authorities use a “ready, set, go” model for evacuation notifications, with “ready” meaning to begin preparing to leave your home, “set” meaning that final preparations need to be in place, and “go” meaning to leave immediately.

The fire, which started July 7 due to lightning, is currently within one mile of Flume Creek residences and a half mile from Trestle Creek residences. The incident management team overseeing operations on the Trestle Creek Complex has been collaborating with local fire districts to put protections in place for area structures.

Roads leading into the fire area are closed to non-firefighting personnel, and a temporary flight restriction has been put in place for non-firefighting aircraft including ultralights and drones.

“We’ve also witnessed burning materials rolling down the steep terrain and starting spot fires,” officials shared Aug. 10. “Along with the extremely dry fuel loads in the area, these factors pose a serious safety risk to anyone camping, hiking, fishing, hunting or even driving in the area. The Forest Closure Order prohibits non-fire personnel from being on the roads, being on the trails, or being in the area. Please do not move, drive around or otherwise interfere with barricades and stay out of these areas.”

To stay up-to-date on local fires and evacuations, visit or text your ZIP code 888-777 to receive notifications from local authorities via text message. View updated fire information at

According to the U.S. Air Quality Index, Sandpoint’s air quality registered as “moderate” on Aug. 11, and is expected to remain in that category through Friday. Smoke is anticipated to accumulate as temperatures rise and breezy conditions move in over the weekend, possibly pushing North Idaho into the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” category. 

Track local air quality at

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