Fighting for containment

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Photo by Idaho Department of Lands/ The CCC wildfire burns throughout the night of Aug. 7.

CATALDO – Wildland firefighters continue their efforts to suppress and extinguish the forest fire that sprang up in Cataldo Wednesday afternoon.

As of Aug. 8 at 9:30 a.m., Idaho Department of Lands reports that the CCC wildfire (named after CCC Road that it is burning right next to) is affecting 200 acres of land and is still zero percent contained.

The fire started around noon on the north side of CCC Road, roughly 2 miles northeast of Cataldo. Cause of ignition is unknown at this time.

Flames are currently burning very dry grass and timber, creating heavy smoke that is being fanned by moderate wind gusts.

Wildland firefighters from local, state and federal agencies are all on scene fighting the blaze. These ground units have been receiving heavy air support from multiple units that include five helicopters (two Type 1, two Type 2 and a Type 3 helicopter) and several air tankers dropping water and fire retardant.

Because of the consistent air support, two hot shot crews were able to work well into Wednesday evening constructing fire line and securing the ridgeline.

Five engines, plus heavy equipment, are all on scene currently with additional assets in route. Dozers will be backing up yesterday’s retardant lines.

Fire crews will continue direct engagement of the fire where they can safely do so. Terrain in affected area is very steep and burning materials have been reported rolling down hill, creating very hazardous conditions.

Fire behavior for Aug. 8 will be similar to Aug. 7 with single and groups of trees torching, short range spotting, and active flanking and backing.

There are several structures at risk, but no evacuations have been ordered.

Closures caused by the fire or suppression efforts include:

•The CCC Road from Cataldo to Wall Ridge Road.

•The stretch of the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes between the Cataldo Trailhead (mile 42) and the Enaville Trailhead (Mile 47).

•Boaters on the river are asked to avoid the lower Coeur d’Alene River from Albert’s Landing to Cataldo for safety reasons as helicopters will be using the river to resupply water.

•A temporary flight restriction is in effect to provide a safe environment for fire aircraft operations.

Area personnel would like to remind the public to not stop on area roads to view the fire- crew and public safety is first priority. Smoke can be expected along the Interstate-90 corridor from Kingston through Cataldo.

The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has issued an Air Quality Notice to notify residents of Benewah, Bonner, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties that degraded air quality continue through Aug. 8.

Due to wildfire smoke and elevated pollutant levels health impacts may occur. Air quality is currently in the MODERATE to UNHEALTHY categories and is forecast to continue to be in the MODERATE to UNHEALTHY categories. The pollutant of concern is Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5).

The Shoshone News-Press will continue to provide updates on the wildfire as more information becomes available.

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