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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Little Pine Fire in Idaho partially contained, but governor worries about staffing for future blazes

UPDATED: Thu., June 24, 2021

The Little Pine Fire burned more than 320 acres near Priest River before being reduced to 175 acres of active fire on Thursday.   (Courtesy of the Idaho Department of Lands Fire Management)
The Little Pine Fire burned more than 320 acres near Priest River before being reduced to 175 acres of active fire on Thursday.  (Courtesy of the Idaho Department of Lands Fire Management)

The Little Pine Fire near Priest River had shrunk to 175 acres Thursday from more than 320 acres Wednesday.

The fire, reported Tuesday afternoon, was 10% contained Thursday morning, according to the Idaho Department of Lands Fire Management. The fire is located 7 miles north of Priest River and a mile south of Blue Lake in Bonner County.

Overnight, the fire behavior was smoldering and creeping along slowly as it transitioned from logging slash into standing timber, according to IDL Fire.

The fire remained within the Idaho Endowment Timberland boundaries, with no road closures or evacuations expected or structures threatened.

Fire crews planned to focus on line construction and mop-up Thursday. Crews will monitor the fire during the heatwave expected to bring temperatures well above 100.

Despite 80% of Idaho being in a drought, according to IDL Fire, increased state resources have kept 90% of the fires so far this year at 10 acres or less.

As fire season progresses, however, more resources will likely be needed to contain fires, which can be a problem when other states also need significant resources, Gov. Brad Little acknowledged.

“What we’re really concerned about is conditions in other states,” he said. If fires are burning simultaneously across the West, as appears likely, Little noted that there’s a “limited number of firefighters and resources.”

While he said the state has “money in the bank,” it could run into logistical problems. “Trying to find firefighters is hard,” Little said.

Despite the struggle to find firefighters, IDL Fire hired 140 firefighters this year to man the 29 available engines in the state.

Crews will also use six drones to help detect hot spots and make firefighting more efficient and water additives will be used to make air drops more accurate and effective.

IDL Fire reminded the public that recreational drones could cause firefighting aircraft to be grounded and are not allowed to be flown near or over wildfires.

IDL Fire has responded to 105 wildfires this year that have burned 438 acres, the department said Thursday.

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