Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Consalus Fire downgraded

Staff Writer | August 1, 2023 1:00 AM

PRIEST RIVER — With growth of the Consalus Fire holding steady for more than a week, management of the fire is being returned to the Priest Lake Fire District.

"After over a week of the fire staying within its footprint and all the great work accomplished on the line, fire officials have determined that the complexity of the fire has dropped from a Type 3 incident to a Type 4," Northern Rockies Type 3 Incident Management Team officials said in a Monday update.

Crews will continue to patrol the fire's edge while pulling hose and backhauling all unneeded equipment. IMT officials said firefighters are mopping up remaining hotspots on the eastern perimeter and cautioned that smoke may be seen at times from pockets of unburned fuels well within the perimeter.

In addition, heavy equipment is clearing and improve roads that were impacted by fire activity. As a result, a forest closure order will remain in effect until further notice as that work is expected to continue well into the fall.

Anyone headed into the woods is reminded to recreate responsibly and ensure all campfires are out. Fires should be doused with water and mixed with soil, before again covered with water. Campers should feel the coals and check that everything is cold to the touch to ensure the fire is out.

"If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave," officials added.

Reported June 30, the Consalus Fire is located 10 miles west of Coolin, Idaho, in Pend Oreille County, Wash. The fire, which has burned an estimated 476 acres, is 50% contained. There are 152 fire personnel assigned to the fire.

Management of firefighting efforts will be turned over to the Priest Lake Ranger District today.

Bee Top Fire

Reported July 1, the lightning-sparked fire has burned an estimated 45 acres and containment is estimated at 80%. There are eight personnel assigned to the fire.

The Bee Top Fire was placed in "patrol status" July 18, meaning that crews will check on the fire on a regular basis but will not need to build any additional containment lines.

Heavy equipment is operating on around the Lightning Creek Road. The public is advised to practice caution and slow speeds when in the area, officials said.

Management of the fire was assumed by the Sandpoint Ranger District on July 19.

Road and trail closures

Bee Top Fire: There are no closures listed.

Consalus Fire: Forest Service Road 1108 is closed from the junction with FSR 333 to the junction with FSR 659. FSR 1094 will remain open for the first 4.5 miles from the junction with FSR 312, however, the remainder will be closed to the junction with FSR 1108. FSR 659 is closed from the junction with FSR 312 to the junction with FSR 659B; and FSR 333 from the junction with FSR 2730 to its end.

Those accessing the Crystal Mine area off FSR 659 may need to pull over to allow heavy equipment and fire crews to access the area.

There is a temporary flight restriction over the fire area. Flying civilian drones is prohibited and could ground firefighting crews. If you fly, they can’t.