[Vision2020] Fire on the mountain
thansen at moscow.com
Tue Aug 31 04:59:42 PDT 2021
Courtesy of today’s Moscow-Pullman Daily News . . .
Fire on the mountain
Residents evacuated, structures destroyed north of Moscow
By Anthony Kuipers Daily News staff writer
Crews from across the Palouse worked Monday afternoon and into the night to battle a wildfire that destroyed structures and threatened at least 20 residences near the base of Moscow Mountain.
Michael McManus, incident commander for the Idaho Department of Lands, said buildings had been lost in the blaze but could not confirm if they were residences. Late Monday, he estimated the fire had grown to 150-200 acres.
McManus said he has not heard any reports of injuries to people or livestock.
Homes near Idlers Rest Road, West Twin Road and Moscow Mountain Road were evacuated.
The fire began at approximately 1:30 p.m. near Idlers Rest Road and spread to Moscow Mountain Road.
There were 100-120 emergency personnel on the scene, two helicopters and five air tankers.
The cause of the fire is undetermined. It was primarily affecting private land and was zero percent contained as of Monday night.
The wind Monday caused “rough conditions” for the firefighters, McManus said. The forecast showed wind continuing into today.
Despite the conditions, McManus remained optimistic.
“Fire’s looking pretty good right now,” he said. “We’re holding our own, definitely.”
He asked the public to respect any road closures near the fire and stay out of the area.
The fire is affecting fields and timber. Idlers Rest Nature Preserve, which features popular hiking trails, is threatened but has not been impacted by the flames, McManus said.
Fire departments from Moscow, Pullman, Troy, Palouse, Potlatch and Whitman County Rural Fire districts were among those on the scene Monday. Fire engines from the Lewis-Clark Valley also arrived in Moscow, McManus said.
Helicopters were dropping water from nearby ponds onto the flames. Onlookers parked their cars on top of hills and on roads just north and east of Moscow to get a good look at the smoke rising from the mountain.
Officials from the Red Cross on Monday invited residents displaced by the blaze to the Latah County Fairgrounds for temporary shelter.
No one had taken the Red Cross up on the offer of temporary shelter at the fairgrounds as of about 7:30 p.m., according to Red Cross Disaster Program Specialist Autumn Gibson.
If evacuees show up in need of somewhere to sleep, she said they will open the evacuation shelter and get food for dinner and breakfast. Residents can call (800) 272-6668 for assistance.
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