fire, wildfire, st. maries, echo springs, idaho department of lands

TUESDAY, AUG. 7, 2007

St. Maries blaze three-quarters contained

Multiagency fire crews continued to battle the 505-acre Echo Springs fire southwest of St. Maries on Monday.

The blaze was 75 percent contained by Monday evening.

“We have favorable conditions,” Idaho Department of Lands spokeswoman Mary Fritz said. “We’re mopping up. We’ve got a lot of water out there.”

Two helicopters, eight fire engines and 170 firefighters battled the blaze, which began Friday in hilly, wooded terrain. Federal, state and local agencies contributed.

Efforts to strengthen the fire line Sunday night were successful, Fritz said. A controlled burn of dry timber with the fire area – called a burnout – was completed.

The fire was estimated over the weekend at 550 acres, but authorities have a more accurate measure of its size.

The fire was burning six miles southwest of St. Maries, threatening 55 structures. Only one, an abandoned house, has been destroyed, Fritz said.

Estimated damage was $350,000 on Monday.

Shay Hill and Cherry Creek roads remain closed to the public.

Most residents have returned from a volunteer evacuation issued Saturday, Fritz said.

Crews will attempt over the next few days to put out any hot spots within 600 feet of area homes, she said. “We will continue to monitor this fire all summer long.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. A meeting to update residents is scheduled for 7 tonight at Heyburn Elementary School.

Stevens County blaze

A 70- to 80-acre fire burning Monday in Stevens County had been 60 percent contained by the evening.

Up to fourteen fire trucks, a helicopter, the Department of Natural Resources and three districts of Stevens County firefighters responded to the fire, on Six Mile Road just off Flowery Trail Road. The cause of the fire had not been determined.

Crews will continue to fight the blaze today, said Russell Armstrong, public information officer for Stevens County Fire District 1.

“It will probably be at least a couple more days” before the firefighters leave the scene, he said. “We want 100 percent mop-up of the fire.”

Beacon Hill fire put out

A wildfire on Beacon Hill was quickly contained Monday morning after charring about one-tenth of an acre just above Minnehaha Park.

Firefighters were called to the scene about 9 a.m. and had the fire doused within half an hour.

Online: A video of the blaze is at

From staff reports

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