Thunderstorm causes numerous wildfires across the Idaho Panhandle

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Firefighters Grace Shelton and Liz Garza dig handline on the Derr Pt fire earlier this August. (Credit E. Hewitt, Kaniksu WFM)

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho — On Thursday night and Friday morning, a thunderstorm moved across the Idaho Panhandle with widespread lightning and very little precipitation.

High temperatures and low precipitation resulted in Very High Fire Danger across the panhandle. There have been 41 wildfires in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests and 96 across all protected areas to date. Numerous smoke reports are still being pursued, and more holdovers are expected to be discovered in the coming days.

In the Sandpoint, Priest Lake and Bonners Ferry Ranger Districts, there have been 15 confirmed fires. The only uncontained fires are the 391-acre Diamond Watch Fire near in the Priest Lake district and the quarter-acre Eneas Peak Fire in the Bonners Ferry district.

Due to the location, access barriers, and terrain of both fires, conditions are too hazardous for direct suppression tactics. Wildland firefighters will use indirect suppression tactics through a combination of hand crews, heavy equipment and other resources as they are needed and available.

In the St. Joe Ranger District, there have been 15 confirmed wildfires. There are seven uncontained fires caused by the lightning storm, though they are expected to be contained shortly. The largest fire to date is 5 acres, and there are currently no road or area closures.

In the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District, there have been 11 confirmed wildfires. There are currently no uncontained fires in the district, but holdover wildfires are likely. Detection flights and district personnel will continue to locate smoke reports.

For more information on wildfires in the Idaho Panhandle, click here.

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