Idaho Panhandle National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
3232 West Nursery Road
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815
West Branch Fire Information and Road Closure
Priest Lake, Idaho, September 17, 2020 – The West Branch Fire was discovered on the morning of Sept 16, 2020. The fire is approximately 9 miles due west of Coolin, Idaho, near Forest Service Road 1094, and a half mile west of the Idaho-Washington state line. The fire was determined to be human caused. Initial size-up at discovery was 20 acres.
A Type 3 helicopter was in use yesterday for bucket work. Resources assigned today include a Type 4 incident commander, an engine, an initial attack module, a 20-person hand crew, and a Type 2 helicopter from the Idaho Department of Lands that will work to contain spot fires. The fire is now estimated to be 30 acres.
There are currently no evacuations associated with the West Branch Fire.
Effective immediately, Idaho Panhandle National Forests officials have put in place a temporary road closure to protect public and firefighter safety during suppression efforts for the West Branch Fire on the Priest Lake Ranger District. The following road closure is in place until rescinded (see attached map for details): Forest Development Road FS 1094, beginning at its junction with NFSR 659, and concluding with its terminus at its junction with NFSR 1108. Any changes to closures, road conditions, or other relevant incident information will be published by the forest and also updated on the fire’s InciWeb page: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7206/
Forest visitors should be aware of fire engine traffic on Forest Service Road 312 (Squaw Valley Road). Also, a reminder that “If you fly, we can’t!” If drones are flown over a fire, air operations could be suspended until the risk of a mid-air collision with a drone is resolved. When firefighting aircraft are grounded for any reason, fire crews lose access to a valuable resource which can adversely affect the safety and efficiency of the overall firefighting effort.
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