Thursday, September 28, 2023

Hot weather could increase fire activity

Staff Writer | July 21, 2023 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — With hotter and drier weather on the horizon, increased smoke and fire activity on the Consalus Fire is possible.

However, an infrared flight Wednesday morning showed fire lines were holding and strategic firing operations were successful, Northern Rockies Type 3 incident management team officials said. A strategic firing operation involves the controlled use of low-intensity fire to reduce fuels and add depth to firelines.

"Strategic firing operations on Wednesday were successful, and by the end of the day, crews were holding and securing the lines. … The need for additional firing operations will be assessed and implemented as needed," IMT officials said in a press release.

Crews are continuing to secure a direct line around the fire's edge. In addition, fire managers are scouting for place to add contingency lines in the event the fire makes it over primary lines.

Sawyers continue to cut down dead trees, also known as snags, to improve safety as firefighters works to get in, run sprinkler systems and mop up.

Reported June 30, the Consalus Fire has 293 fire personnel assigned to the fire, as well as two helicopters and drone crew, six-plus hand crews, five engines, four faller modules, six water tenders and an ambulance crew assigned to the fire as well as a heavy equipment task force. Firefighting efforts are being managed by Northern Rockies Type 3 Incident Management Team led by John Heyn.

Bee Top Fire

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

No additional information has been released on the fire.

Reported July 1, the lightning-sparked fire has burned an estimated 45 acres as of Tuesday. Management of the fire was assumed by the Sandpoint Ranger District early Wednesday morning.

Road and trail closures

• Bee Top Fire

There are no closures listed.

• Consalus Fire

Several road closures went into effect at midnight Tuesday. 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.


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