New fire burning along state border tops 600 acres

August 2, 2018

A new wildfire ignited about 5 miles east of East Hope, Idaho grew to around 600 acres Thursday, joining a handful of other fires burning across Northwest Montana and the Idaho panhandle.

The lightning-caused Cougar Fire was burning in steep rugged terrain near the Montana state line on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests. The blaze presented safety concerns for smoke jumpers dispatched Monday, causing fire managers to pull all ground crews off the scene Wednesday.

Miscellaneous air equipment remained engaged on the fire, combating the blaze with bucket drops and fire retardant. A Type 3 Incident team has been ordered and was expected to arrive later in the week.

Fire official expressed concern over winds forecast to reach 20-25 mph on Thursday and Friday.

The Ten Mile Fire burning on the Kootenai National Forest east of Lake Kookanusa along Highway 37 doubled in size between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, reaching a total of 40 acres. Because of the high fire activity, ground crews also evacuated the fire for their own safety, but air equipment continued containment efforts from above.

The Type 2 Incident team responsible for the 215-acre Davis Fire and 12-acre Porcupine Fire, burning farther north on the Kootenai Forest, established a command post at the Upper Ford Work Station. A public information meeting was planned at the Yaak Fire Station.

Equipment on the Davis Fire includes one grader, one dozer, four water tenders and a heavy equipment task force.

A closure of Forest Service Road 92 remained in place Thursday from the junction of Basin Creek Road and west from Boulder/Sullivan Cutoff Road.

A red flag warning went into effect for the Porcupine Fire due to forecast high winds on Thursday.

Meanwhile in the southeast corner of the state, the Bacon Rind fire reached nearly 500 acres as of Thursday, burning in both the Custer Gallatin National Forest and Yellowstone National Park.

Though smoke remained visible from Highway 191, the highway and all roads running through and into the national forest remained open.

Hazardous conditions kept ground crews off the fire, but fire managers continued to look for opportunities to engage the fire should it change direction.

Reporter Mary Cloud Taylor can be reached at 758-4459 or mtaylor@dailyinterlake.com.

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