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Friday, October 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Wildfires force more evacuations in northern Idaho

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Evacuations have been ordered in northern Idaho as a group of wildfires that has already destroyed 42 homes threatened more residences Friday despite nearly 800 firefighters trying to beat back flames. Fire managers told residents near the town of Weippe late Thursday to flee the fires that have scorched 63 square miles of mostly timber and are 30 percent contained. A local high school is being used to shelter evacuees. In west-central Idaho, fire managers say expected winds on Friday aligning with topography could cause an 11-square-mile wildfire to grow significantly despite fire lines built by some 460 firefighters. U.S. Highway 95 has remained open but could close depending on fire activity. Idaho on Friday had 17 large fires burning, the most in the nation.

Meanwhile, S-R reporter Nina Culver reports here that the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office has put the Priest Lake area under a Level 1 evacuation notice and is asking that only local residents drive on Highway 57 north of Priest River, which is the only way to access Priest Lake. A Level 1 notice means that residents should be on alert and may be asked to evacuate if conditions deteriorate. The Tower Fire burning near the Washington-Idaho border has grown to 8,695 acres and is still very active with tree torching. More than 30 homes and outbuildings are threatened.

The Big Meadows area has been put on a Level 2 evacuation notice, which means residents should be packed and ready to go. The Tower Fire is now part of the Kaniksu Complex along with six smaller fires burning in the Colville National Forest, including the 515 acre Baldy Fire north of Ione.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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