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Thursday, September 17, 2015

9/17/2015 Kettle Complex Update

Incident Summary: The Kettle Complex includes three fires – the Stickpin, Renner and Graves Mountain fires – burning south of the Canadian border, west of Highway 395, north of State Route 20 and east of Highway 21.

Operations: Active fire is still being suppressed on the north and east sides of the Stickpin Fire although it is minimal and crews have a good handle on it. Mop-up (systematically checking, digging up, extinguishing and rechecking secured fireline), backhaul (removing pumps, hose and other no-longer-needed equipment), and suppression repair (fixing areas damaged by firefighting activities, including bulldozer lines, saw lines and safety zones) continues on all fires. The cool, moist weather has been beneficial to suppression efforts but has introduced a new challenge for repair operations. Recent rain, snow and sleet over the fire area have made roads extremely slick and soft. Repair work with heavy equipment has become a delicate balance of repairing the roads without causing further damage. Crews strive to leave the forest roads and control lines in the best possible shape. Although excellent progress is being made on repair operations, some operations requiring the use of heavy equipment will have to wait for drier weather in order to avoid causing additional damage.

Fire Prevention: The fire season is not over. Despite the recent weather, the region is still dry and new fire starts are still occurring. Hunters and campers can follow a few easy precautions to protect themselves and our forests when recreating. Think twice before driving into a grassy field. Avoid parking over tall, dry grass or piles of leaves that can touch the underside of a vehicle. Always carry an approved fire extinguisher on vehicles that are used off road. If allowed (check with your local forest or state park), when making a campfire, clear a zone around the fire ring from any debris that may ignite from windblown sparks. Store your unused firewood a good distance from the fire. Never leave a campfire unattended, extinguish fires each night and before leaving camp (even if it is just a few minutes). For more information, visit
Highway Safety: Logging activity continues on private and state forestlands affected by the fire. Log trucks are using Deer Creek-Boulder Creek Road and Highway 395. Drivers in the area should expect increased logging traffic as well as fire equipment and are urged to use caution. 

Closures/Restrictions: Deer Creek-Boulder Creek Road is open, but all connecting US Forest Service roads are closed to non-fire traffic. Highway 21 is open. For firewood cutting, please call Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) at 509-684-7474 or the Colville National Forest at509-684-7000 to see if cutting is allowed in your area or for permitting. Regardless of whether cutting is allowed, burned areas in the Colville National Forest remain closed to non-fire traffic until further notice.

Cooperating Agencies:  USDA Forest Service Colville National Forest, Washington Department of Natural Resources Northeast Region, USDI Bureau of Land Management, Ferry County Fire District 3 and 13, Stevens County County Fire District 8, Curlew Fire Department, Ferry County Sheriff.

Kettle Complex Fire Information Office

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