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evacuation notices for Stickpin Fire in my county

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  • evacuation notices for Stickpin Fire in my county

    The Stickpin Fire is several miles (I estimate about 12) from my house and growing rapidly. I just spent all evening and part of the night going door-to-door with our SAR team alerting nearby residents of the level 1 evacuation notice. This evening the fire was officially listed as 3,000 acres, but the Sheriff's Office said unofficially that it was already about 5,000 by dusk. It is rapidly moving out of the national forest and approaching homes in the foothills of the range. Coming home tonight I could look across the valley from my road and see flames on the ridgeline.

    I expect that Friday SAR will once again be deployed, either to notify more people to be ready, or to actually assist with alerts and traffic control during an evacuation. There are a lot of livestock and pets in the area that may need to be moved and housed too. Worse, the forecast calls for high winds and frequent lightning! This one has me on edge. Hopefully we will be able to help keep everyone safe.

  • #2
    That is just way too close to have a forest fire, fcphdJim ! ! Hopefully, people are planning where they can take their livestock to a safe place and bringing them in to a small corral so they can catch the livestock easier should evacuations become necessary.
    When we had the one near where I lived in Idaho (many years ago); the horses were all frightened, and didn't want to be caught so we could take them to safety. I think that thy thought security was where they were used to being, and did not want to go away from there under any circumstances.
    One good thing about rural areas is that the people in a community will usually work together to help everyone get themselves and their animals to a safe place.

    My son lives in Kettle Falls, so this fire is not that far away from there either. I will be keeping an eye on the fire reports; but please keep everyone updated on how it is going. Be safe !


    • #3
      Well, I'm home from over 12 hours of door-to-door notifications. I never realized that there were so many miles of winding dirt roads up in the hills in our area, or that so many people lived at the end of those roads! I opened many gates with "no trespassing" and gun-related signs on them, approached quite a few big barking/growling dogs, and banged on the doors of a lot of really scary-looking shacks. Not only did nobody point a gun at me, everyone we talked to was actually pleasant and happy to see us. That even included the guy with the really impressive marijuana patch! People just wanted information, especially since many of them don't have phones or scanners.

      Meanwhile, the fire grew to at least 20,000 acres by this evening. Winds are pushing it and it is still spreading rapidly. Fortunately for me, it is mostly moving to the northeast, which is away from my house. A couple of roads east of Curlew have been placed on level 3 evacuation notice, which means get out at once (or accept responsibility for any consequences if you choose to stay). The Red Cross has set up a shelter at the school and we have a few volunteers coordinating animal boarding at the fairgrounds. So far the east side of the Kettle Range hasn't been hit too hard, but that could change quickly depending upon the wind. Our team has placed closure notices on all roads and trailheads leading into the fire area, including on the east side.

      I don't know what tomorrow will bring. We have another storm on the way tonight, so more lightning strikes are possible. Firefighters and equipment are slowly filtering into the area and setting up a fire camp. There are still no air resources available to combat the fire and ground forces have been unable to really do anything other than scout and assess the situation. Tomorrow there will be a briefing meeting for all cooperating operations agencies (which includes both SAR and the hospital, so I think I will be sitting in) to coordinate efforts. I'll update as I am able.


      • #4
        This fire is now up to 35,000 acres with 0% containment. Fortunately the wind is currently pushing it away from structures and the growth in size has been mostly in national forest. Evacuation levels were downgraded due to rain yesterday, but now it is clear and breezy again, and temperatures are expected to climb this week. Evacuation levels could escalate again at any time if the wind shifts or the fire makes any unexpected runs to the south or west.

        We now have a Type 2 incident management team on site to coordinate all the efforts from different agencies fighting the fire. However, resources are extremely short due to the quantity of massive fires all over the state and region. Our SAR team is on standby and getting some much-needed rest in preparation for the week ahead. There are several possible scenarios that would require all hands on deck in order to save lives and/or property. We are a long way from done with this incident.


        • #5
          Most of Idaho is on fire right now, too, Jim.
          They have been evacuating people north of Bonners Ferry from the Parker Ridge fire, and there are fires near Sandpoint and Kamiah as well. The Idaho governor has declared a state of emergency because there are so many.
          I was looking at the map for the Inland Northwest, and most of eastern Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana is full of wildfire icons on the map.
          It is no wonder that the help is hard to come by for any of the fires right now.
          Prayers for a quick end for all of these fires. Maybe the Lord will send you some good rain storms and help put the fires out.
          Be safe, fcphdJim ! !


          • #6
            Thank you. We can use all the prayers. What we need is cooler temperatures and a good steady rain for several days.

            Our county commissioners declared a county-wide state of emergency yesterday and today the Sheriff announced a county-wide level 1 evacuation notice. We have the Stickpin fire (now part of the Kettle Complex) to the NE and the rapidly-growing North Star to the SW. This afternoon the wind shifted and blanketed Republic in thick smoke and falling ash. At the hospital we began making contingency plans in case we need to evacuate later this week. Hopefully it won't come to that, as we really have nowhere to go, and several roads could be overrun by the fire. Tomorrow morning there will be another IMT meeting. We'll see what the plan is now...


            • #7
              And now Stickpin isn't even a concern for Republic. We're far more worried about the 147,000 acre North Star fire that started on the reservation and blew up towards us. It is currently about six miles from the edge of town and still only 3% contained. Worse, the IMT seems to be putting all their efforts and resources into protecting towns on the rez, completely ignoring the fact that at least four times as many people live in the currently threatened area to the north. The entire town and some outlying area was put on level 2 evacuation notice at noon today. My home is still listed as level 1, but if the fire reaches the southern outskirts of town we will evacuate because we would shelter in place at the hospital, and I can't risk having my route into town cut off. We currently have most things packed, much already loaded in vehicles. My wife and I spent the afternoon at the hospital helping with last-minute preparations there. I am confident that it will survive and keep us safe even if the town burns around us, but I have no idea if my home will still be here. This really sucks!


              • #8
                Here is an article that describes the progress of the North Star fire, and it also has several pictures that show the area.
                The last report that I read said that Australia and New Zealand are now also sending more firefighters to this whole area to help reinforce the number of fighters available for the many fires.
                This has certainly been a terrible summer for wildfires. I am certainly hoping and praying that Washington and Idaho get some good rain soon !
                Be safe, Jim, and I am glad that you are ready to evacuate because I know from experience how fast the wind can change and send the fire into another direction.
                fcphdJim likes this.


                • #9
                  Well, my plans have been completely turned upside down. Now I've been told that if town goes to level 3 evacuation that the hospital will close down and temporarily relocate. Nobody will be allowed to shelter in here, so suddenly I have nowhere to go. I will be contacting friends to the north today to try to have a temporary place to stay with my family and pets. We aren't really able to leave the surrounding area due to budget and vehicle issues. Hopefully the fire will be halted soon or the weather help us out. If not, I could be homeless for a while. Feel free to keep praying for our whole region!


                  • #10
                    fcphdJim, That is really terrible news ! I was just reading more about the fire in the Spokesman this morning, and it said that they were trying to save both Republic and Nespelem.

                    My son in Kettle Falls has been sending me pictures from there, and although they are not being evacuated, the fire is a threat there, too, and they have so much smoke you can barely see in front of your face.

                    The Spokesman also said that parts of the Idaho Panhandle are now being closed off completely, even in areas where there are no fires yet, due to the extreme danger.

                    I concur with Jim in asking for prayers, not only for Jim and his family; but for the whole Pacific Northwest fires right now. People are hurting and losing their homes out there, folks !


                    • #11
                      Today we had winds strong enough to knock over a few trees, and it was blowing the fire directly towards town. The lines held! Now much of the smoke is gone and we can see the stars for the first time in a couple of weeks. We may have turned the corner today, although there is still a lot of firefighting to be done. I'm now fairly confident that Republic (and my house!) will still be standing when this is over. My mood is better now than it has been in quite a while. God is good!
                      Tumbleweed likes this.


                      • #12
                        I am SO glad to hear the good news , fcphdJim, and I hope that you continue to get the rain needed to help put out not only the fire near you; but also the other ones that are in the Inland Northwest right now.

                        Apparently, Seattle, which does not need the rain, was having torrential rains, and now thousands of people are without power from the high winds accompanying the storm.

                        If the wind changes directions, maybe it will turn the fire back on itself, and help put it out.
                        When I lived in Bonners, we had a wildfire that was within a mile or so from our house, and we were all praying.
                        When it got to the road before ours, the wind changed, and blew the fire back into itself, and put the fire out before it got to us.
                        It was a very eventful time, and we were sure thanking God when the fire was stopped.
                        fcphdJim likes this.