Clearwater Complex And Other Fires Historic For North Idaho

Aug 18, 2015

Of the 15 large fires in Idaho, nine are burning in the northern part of the state. They run from the Canadian border south to the Nez-Perce-Clearwater National Forest, and fire officials say it’s unlike any season in the last century.

Crews from all across the country are fighting fires in Idaho. Most of the blazes started from lightning strikes last week. The Idaho Panhandle National Forest’s spokesperson, Jay Kirchner, says this year is record breaking.

“Nobody living right now has seen a list of fires this long in north Idaho before,” says Kirchner. “The last time we had this many acres of fire was probably in 1967, but a better comparison is we have enough fire on the ground that it’s similar to the great fires of 1910.”

He says if it weren’t for new technology and roads, Idaho would be in a similar situation as the Great Fire of 1910.

The biggest concern in North Idaho is the Clearwater Complex of blazes burning on the Nez Perce Reservation. About 40 homes in the area have burned. Fire spokesperson Dixie Deis says people should not become complacent.

“The wind blows, and it starts to move. We advance resources to that part, and get some lines around it, and it squirts out somewhere else. And there’s houses all over this area, and so we go there for structure protections and return to where we started and all of that line has been compromised and we start all over.”

The 43,000 acre complex is in the vicinity of many homes. Required evacuations have been lifted, but a few roads remain on level two evacuation.