The deaths of three firefighters in Washington state Wednesday served as a sobering reminder that the work of thousands of men and women fighting fires throughout the region is far from over.
The fatalities came during an initial attack on the Twisp River Fire, near the towns of Twisp and Winthrop in north-central Washington. Twisp, Winthrop and Riverside, Wash., were evacuated Wednesday, as the more than 50-acre blaze threatened upwards of 200 structures, according to King 5 News
Meanwhile, fire officials are keeping a close eye on the forecast, which includes some thunderstorms and high winds that could compound containment efforts.
The Soda Fire, along the Idaho/Oregon border, is now 95 percent contained after burning nearly 290,000 square acres.
In the Boise National Forest, the Cougar Fire, about 20 miles northeast of Cascade, is 30 percent contained with 330 personnel on the scene. Approximately 30 residents attended a two-hour public meeting on the fire Wednesday at the North Shore Lodge at Warm Lake. That's where they were told that smoke may be increasing in the area, requiring a pilot car on portions of Highway 22. Residents in the path of the West Scriver Fire, approximately 13 miles north of Crouch, will be briefed at a public meeting at 6 p.m. tonight at the Donnelly Fire Department.
Officials at the front lines of the Tepee Springs Fire, south of Riggins, have maintained a Level 1 (voluntary) evacuation after nearly 6,600 acres were scorched. The Stage 1 evacuations are in place for Smokey-Elk Road east and west of Highway 95. Nearby, the Rapid Fire has burned approximately 1,500 acres south of Kennally Creek and continues to expand southeast. The Campbells Fire is now estimated at 1,750 acres near Trout and Moore creeks.
In north-central Idaho, the Clearwater Complex of fires has consumed more than 64,000 acres and destroyed a number of homes near Kamiah. That blaze is 25 percent contained and has approximately 860 firefighting personnel on the scene.
City of Boise firefighters responded around 3 a.m. Thursday to a barn fire near Cloverdale Road and Fairview Avenue in West Boise. The structure had been abandoned. Traffic was diverted from a stretch of Fairview for a while as firefighters contained the blaze from spreading to a nearby mobile home park. The cause is under investigation.
Boise fire officials said Thursday morning's blaze was the third structure fire of its kind on Fairview Avenue in the last several months, in addition to two grass fires in the area. A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered by the Idaho Arson Award Program
for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of person(s) responsible for the fire. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Idaho State Fire Marshal's Office Arson Line at 1-877-75_ARSON, or Crimestoppers at 343-COPS.