Idaho Panhandle National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
3232 West Nursery Road
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815
West Branch Fire Update
Priest Lake, Idaho, September 21, 2020 – The West Branch Fire was discovered on the morning of Sept 16, 2020 and is under investigation. 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 is approximately 60 acres.
There are currently no evacuations associated with the West Branch Fire.
The fire continues to slowly back downhill towards the West Branch Priest River and move slowly uphill towards Forest Service Road 1094. Crews and a helicopter worked through the weekend to contain a small spot fire above FSR 1094. Resources assigned include a Type 4 incident commander, an engine, an initial attack module, and a 20-person hand crew. Significant precipitation has been forecasted for the latter half of the week, starting Wednesday, September 23, with 100% chance of rain overnight, and up to one inch of rain from this system - https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/d13_fill.gif?1600723451228
Effective September 17, 2020, 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 The following road closure is in place until rescinded (see attached map for details): Forest Development Road FS 1094, beginning at its junction with NFSR 312, and concluding with its terminus at its junction with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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