The Priest Lake Ranger District - Idaho Panhandle National Forests and the Newport Ranger District- Colville National Forest has a wildfire burning in the upper Hughes Creek drainage. The North Fork Hughes Fire is located just north of Hughes Meadows across the Washington State line and may be visible from the Priest Lake area. A lightning storm on June 28 likely sparked the fire, and it was located by firefighters on July 4. Smokejumpers were sent in to suppress the fire, but after three days, due to safety concerns, they had to disengage.
Steep, rugged terrain is challenging; presenting multiple safety concerns for firefighters. The fire is burning in a remote location within the Salmo Priest Wilderness where access is very limited. The fire is burning in very large trees on a steep slope. As the fire burns, trees are falling and sliding down slope. The fire is currently creeping and backing down hill with isolated single and group torching.
Fire managers are considering several variables and evaluating the fire from both air and ground. It has been determined that firefighters cannot safely engage the fire due to remoteness, rugged terrain, heavy fuels, snags, lack of helicopter landing spots, escape routes and safety zones. Firefighters will continue to monitor any fire spread toward critical areas, ensure any sensitive sites are mitigated with sprinklers and only engage when it is safe to do so.
Fire managers are developing a strategic action plan to manage this fire. Chandra Neils, Acting Priest Lake District Ranger, stated "The plan will give the highest priority to firefighter and public safety, with safe, efficient, and mindful management decisions.”
For more information, please contact the Priest Lake Ranger District office (208‐443-2512)
Link to current update: 9/18/17
|Current as of|
|Date of Origin||Wednesday June 28th, 2017 approx. 12:00 AM|
|Location||20 miles North of Nordman, Idaho|
|Incident Commander||Andy Delmas|
High elevation brush
Flanking, backing, single tree torching and group torching.
Next few days is a transition period to a cooler and wetter pattern. The next 72 hours are predicted to have moderated Relative Humidity's bottoming out in the 20's-30's with breezy northerly winds that could result in continued spread with no precipitation expected. After 72 hours a deep low pressure is predicted to move through and bring wetting rains next week.