Character Complex wildfire update for July 21
Size: 4,337 acres
Structures Lost: 0
Deceitful Fire (3,103 acres): The Deceitful Fire is still burning in a heavily timbered, inaccessible area, making direct attack on the fire difficult. However, fire managers are now scouting for and may have some opportunities for direct attack along Graham Creek. The plan is still to try to confine the fire between Graham Ridge, Graham Creek, Cedar Creek, and the North Fork Coeur d’Alene River.
Road improvement and mechanical line on the 933 Road from Beaver Creek Road to White Creek Saddle and Moon Saddle to Graham Mountain are complete, and equipment crews are now widening these lines. Crews continue to work on dozer lines and fuel breaks from Graham Mountain north to the North Fork Coeur d’ Alene River. Fire crews with masticators and dozers are also widening contingency lines further south from Graham Mountain towards Montgomery Gulch. Crews are working along the North Fork Coeur d’ Alene River corridor and in the Montgomery and Moon Gulch areas to set up structure protection and do property assessments. Fire managers will also assess an option to open the 620C Road to use as a control line before the fire moves north into the riparian area. These crews are also available for initial attack should there be any new fire starts in the area.
Prichard Fire (1,234 acres): Firefighters continue to make progress on the Prichard Fire, including completing, improving, and securing fireline along the fire’s rugged northeastern perimeter. The fire continues to back downhill to the east towards West Fork Eagle Creek; however, some unburned islands of fuels are still present within the fire perimeter. The structure protection group continues to work in the area and is also available for initial attack for new fire starts if they occur.
Weather and Fuel Conditions: Relative humidity has increased, but the threat of thunderstorms remains overnight. A dry cold front will pass through the area late Wednesday, bringing dry air, lower relative humidity and the strongest winds yet seen on these fires. Expect dense smoke (primarily drifting in from fires to the south and west) to continue. Large diameter dead and down fuels are exceptionally dry in the area and provide the primary energy for fires. Fuels are so dry that aircraft retardant and water drops or light precipitation will only temporarily decrease fire behavior.
Evacuations and Fire Closures: The Shoshone County Sheriff announced Monday evening that residents within the Coal Creek – Prichard Zone are now in “Set” status and are encouraged to move trailers and recreational vehicles out of the area. Additionally, residents on Eagle Creek and West Fork Eagle Creek Roads remain in “Set” status. Fire managers and Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office have prepared a population protection plan for both fire areas. For more evacuation information, contact the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office and refer to the InciWeb page for more details.
Road, trail, and area closures are in effect on Idaho Panhandle National Forest lands around the fire areas. Closure orders and maps are posted on InciWeb and the Idaho Panhandle National Forest Facebook page. The Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office has closed the following roads: Eagle Creek Road, Montgomery Ridge Road, and Bobtail Road at Prichard Creek for the safety of private landowners and firefighters working in the area.
Fire Restrictions: Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in effect for Shoshone County and all of northern Idaho.
Special Messages: There is a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) over the fire area. For the safety of aerial resources and firefighters on the ground, please do not fly unmanned aircraft (drones) in the fire vicinity. If you fly, we can’t. For public and firefighter safety, watch out for fire traffic and decreased visibility due to smoke. Please drive with caution near the fire areas and avoid the areas if possible.
Primary and Cooperating Agencies: USFS, IDL, Shoshone County, Shoshone County Sheriff, Prichard/Murray VFD, Stimson Lumber, Molpus Woodlands Group, Avista Utilities, and Bonneville Power Administration.