By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Wetting rains and cooling temperatures are helping bring this year’s fire season to a close — a milestone highlighted by the near-complete containment of the 6,600-acre Trestle Creek Complex fire, located about four miles north of Hope in northeast Bonner County.
The blaze, sparked by lightning on July 7, was originally six separate fires that merged together. Over the past two months, evacuation orders have come and gone; and, now at 97% contained, fire managers have rescinded all area closures related to the fire. The Trestle Creek Complex is currently seeing only minimal fire activity with some interior smoldering, according to Idaho Panhandle National Forest officials.
“While the wildfire is no longer in danger of expanding, the Forest Service still urges visitors to use caution when entering the area,” IPNF stated Sept. 17. “Wildfires can weaken trees, loosen rocks and other debris that can roll into roadways or permit flash floods, and heat pockets can remain in the ground for months. Campfire restrictions have also been removed, but fuels remain very dry in places and visitors are urged to practice fire safety, ensuring all fires are DEAD OUT before leaving their campsite.”
On Sept. 13, U.S. President Joe Biden became the first chief executive officeholder to visit Boise’s National Interagency Fire Center, according to NPR. The outlet reported that the fire center has been operating at its highest level of deployment throughout much of the summer due to the West’s unprecedented fire season.
“The reality is we have a global warming problem, a serious global warming problem, and it’s consequential, and what’s going to happen is things are not going to go back,” Biden said during his visit to Idaho’s capital city.
NPR reports that the 2021 fire season had seen more than 43,000 starts and burned 5.4 million acres at the time of Biden’s tour through the western states — slightly more than last year’s harrowing season.
“Two-thirds of Idaho is public land managed by the federal government, and it is imperative we keep lines of communication open with our federal partners — right up to the president — on ways to build a more fire resilient range and forest ecosystem,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little stated in a media release following Biden’s visit. The governor said he spent his “limited time with the president” sharing Idaho’s “incredible progress” in implementing collaborative programs like the Good Neighbor Authority and Shared Stewardship meant to help parties at every level of government and private industry work together to responsibly manage forest land.
“There is plenty I disagree with the president on right now,” Little continued, referring to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other national issues on which the GOP governor and Democratic POTUS are at odds, “but today we came together to listen to one another and discuss solutions on wildfire.”
View updates on active wildfires at inciweb.nwcg.gov.
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