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Rabid bats found in two counties

Rabid bats have been found in Kootenai and Ada counties, and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare advises pet owners to make sure their animals are vaccinated against the disease.

Bats are the only creatures in Idaho known to carry the disease naturally. Domesticated animals can contract rabies through contact with sick bats.

Rabies can be fatal, but it is treatable.

Deputy state epidemiologist Dr. Leslie Tengelsen said people should avoid bats or other animals that seem sick or are unusually aggressive. If scratched or bitten – and bat bites can be so small as to be almost undetectable – victims should seek help immediately.

If possible, the bat should be captured for testing, but do not touch bats with bare hands. Testing by a district health department is free.

In 2007, 12 rabid bats were found in Idaho.

Airway Heights

Fights lock down corrections center

Airway Heights Corrections Center was locked down Sunday after what state authorities call “several assaults or fights among offenders.”

No weapons were involved, and no one was seriously injured in the fights that prompted the lockdown about 1:30 p.m., according to a press release from corrections center officials. One corrections center employee was among those with minor injuries.

The lockdown means 1,560 inmates are confined to their cells. Offender jobs, education classes, volunteer programs and visits have been suspended.

Officials did not venture a guess at how long the lockdown would last.


Area smoke from Grant County fire

Smoke that was thick Sunday in some parts of Spokane came from a fire about 100 miles away, the National Weather Service reported.

“I can believe it,” said Kyle Foreman, spokesman for Grant County Emergency Management. “The wind’s blowing it your way.”

Foreman said the wind-driven fire had burned 3,000 acres by late Sunday, near O’Sullivan Dam and Potholes Reservoir.

Firefighters established a command post at Mardon Resort, about 12 miles southwest of Moses Lake. They hoped to get the fire under control overnight and begin cleanup today.

Involved in the effort are crews from Grant and Adams counties and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with assistance from two Forest Service air tankers.

The fire was started by a Columbia National Wildlife Refuge visitor who was firing tracer rounds from a rifle, Foreman said. He tried to extinguish the fire, then called 911 at 12:55 p.m. Sunday.

From staff reports