A spate of smoldering campfires has been reported in recent days along the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Officials found eight abandoned fires during the first five miles of a patrol Tuesday, said Sandra Groth, a fire prevention specialist with the Coeur d’Alene Interagency Dispatch Center. “This is a very serious situation, especially as temperatures soar and the potential for wildfires increases,” Groth said.
The fire season arrived about a month earlier than normal this year thanks to early snowmelt and a long run of hot, dry days, said Craig Glazier, assistant fire management officer for the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.
By law, fires must be extinguished before campers leave a site. Those found in violation are subject to fines and might be required to pay firefighting costs, Groth said.
Campfires are banned in portions of Eastern Washington. For local restrictions, contact the nearest Forest Service ranger office or state office of public lands.
West Nile virus found in two men
Two men from Southern Idaho have tested positive for the West Nile virus, becoming the state’s first human cases of the mosquito-carried disease for 2007, according to a statement issued Thursday by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
Last summer, Idaho led the nation for West Nile cases, with about 1,000 residents infected. Twenty-three people were killed by the virus. Nearly all the cases were in Southern Idaho.
The recent cases involve an Ada County man in his 50s and a man from Payette County in his 60s. Both are recovering, the health department said.
Officials have confirmed the presence of West Nile in mosquitoes in Canyon, Gem, Elmore and Payette counties. West Nile has not yet turned up in Kootenai County this season, said Cynthia Taggart, spokeswoman for the Panhandle Health District. Each week the agency samples mosquitoes for the virus.
“We certainly expect it,” Taggart said.
Health experts recommend wearing insect repellent, long sleeves and pants to avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.
Ramsey Road reopens early
A stretch of Ramsey Road in north Coeur d’Alene has reopened, completing a widening project six weeks earlier than anticipated.
All lanes are open even though streetlights haven’t been installed and minor work is needed on the curbs.
The project included widening the road to five lanes from Hanley Avenue north to Prairie Avenue and installing sewer and water lines, curbs and gutters, and streetlights.
Construction was expected to last until mid-August. City project manager Dick Suchocki said the early completion was due to the efforts of the contractors.
Other NIC raffle winners named
Montana residents David Adler and Dave Larson walked away from North Idaho College’s Really BIG Raffle drawing Wednesday the owners of a new $300,000 house in Post Falls. But they weren’t the only big winners.
Other winners in the NIC Foundation’s 14th annual fundraiser were Coeur d’Alene resident V.L Green, who won $20,000, and Mary Weed, of Post Falls, who won a $10,000 boat package. Joye and Lloyd Gill, of Spokane, won a $3,500 travel package, and Deborah Olson, of Tensed, Idaho, won a $2,000 shopping spree. Others won a $500 Costco gift card, a two-night bed-and-breakfast-getaway and $250. All 5,000 tickets, at $100 each, sold. The college netted about $185,000.
Police presenting animal safety day
The Post Falls Police Department will present “Support Animal Safety Day” on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the city’s animal shelter, 805 Auto Row, next to Post Falls Mazda.
The event will feature children’s book author and Coeur d’Alene police Sgt. Christie Wood signing her book, “The Adventures of Woodville, Oscar meets the Duchess.” All profits from the sale of her books will benefit the shelter. Joining Wood will be her pug, Oscar, the book’s main character.
The event will include a best costume contest for dogs at 11 a.m. Other activities include, with a donation of food or cash, a free wellness check by River City Animal Hospital and free nail trimming by Pretty Pooch Grooming.
The city’s animal safety section enforces city animal ordinances, including care and feeding of lost or abandoned animals and the capture of those animals. The section is also responsible for the adoption of strays.
Free kids’ concert moves inside
Because of anticipated high temperatures, the free KPBX Kids’ Concert set for noon to 1 p.m. today has been moved from Riverfront Park to Auntie’s Bookstore in the Liberty Building at 402 W. Main Ave.
The group Dead Man’s Pants will play songs from the summer of 1967.
The location change was announced Thursday, too late to correct the listing in today’s 7, which is preprinted.
From staff reports
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