The Priest Lake Food Bank will be hosting its annual BBQ fundraiser on Thursday, Sept. 3rd, from 4-7pm at Ardy's Cafe, 205 Cavanaugh Bay Road in Coolin. The dinner, which will include chicken, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, fruit salad, dessert, coffee, and soft drinks, is by donation. The Priest Lake Food Bank, located at 26506 Hwy 57 in the Lamb of God Lutheran Church, is open 12-3pm on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, and operates on the generosity of the Priest Lake community. Donations can be sent to P.L.F.B. c/o Rita Ringo, 5215 Gleason McAbee Falls Rd. Priest River, ID 83856. For more information, contact Joan Andrews at (208) 448-2367.
August 30, 2015
With all the attention on the Tower Fire/Kaniksu Complex, we have not spent as much time updating folks about the Upper Priest Fire.
The Upper Priest fire started August 10th with a lightning storm and was first observed on August 11th. The fire is burning in the Upper Priest River drainage and is located about two miles east of Little Snowy Top and has burned on both sides of Forest Service Road 1013. The Forest Service has closed FS Road 1013 near the junction with Trail 308 that hikers use to access the Upper Priest River. The road closure also includes Trail 28 that hikers use to access Upper Priest River Falls. The fire is currently about 109 acres and minimally staffed.
Jill Cobb, Fire Information Officer
UPDATE AUG 31 ,2015
The Priest Lake, Idaho, area and Highway 57 are open to all traffic. All businesses along with federal and state campgrounds at Priest Lake are open.
There are no mandatory evacuation orders for these fires. If an evacuation order were issued, it would be called a Level 3 Evacuation, which means it is time to go.
The Big Meadow/Squaw Valley area was reduced to a Level 1 Evacuation Alert Sunday afternoon, Aug. 30. In Level 1, residents should be ready to leave and should monitor emergency services. Those with special needs, pets, livestock or that need transportation assistance should take early precautionary movement to relocate. A Level 1 Evacuation Alert remains in place for the north Hwy 57 corridor that includes the Nordman area and the west side of Priest Lake.
A Level 1 Evacuation Alert remains for the Bear Paw area and the south Hwy 57 corridor from Priest River north to Dickensheet Road. This alert includes the west side of Priest Lake. The Level 1 Evacuation for Hwy 57 has been issued because fire managers are aware that Hwy 57 is the main route south from the Priest Lake community. It is not because of imminent fire danger to the area.
A Level 1 Evacuation Alert is still in effect for two central Pend Oreille County, Wash, areas: the Best Chance residential area and a corridor on the east side of the Pend Oreille River, starting at the intersection of Le Clerc Creek Road and North Le Clerc Road south to a half mile south of the Usk bridge.
1. All areas that were Level 3 (Big Meadows) now improved to Level 2. (CHANGED)
2. All areas that were designated Level 2 earlier today (Dickensheet turn-off north to Nordman on the west side of the lake), which does include all of us), now improved to Level 1. Yes, we are Level 1.
3. The wind was less than anticipated in intensity and duration.
4. The fire did grow but an unknown amount – a Forest Service jet will overfly tonight at high altitude to determine via infra –red the current dimensions of the fire, estimated > 20,000 acres.
5. Fire fighters and equipment were temporarily withdrawn from the fire (including 11 Australians who arrived to assist - the Incident Commander says “they are great fire fighters but drive their dozers on the wrong side of the roads”).
6. Personnel will re-engage in am with total personnel now 800.
7. No structures have been lost, no injuries reported.
8. Forest Service meteorologist cautiously optimistic: next several days will see decreasing temperatures, increasing humidity during nights and days, little wind, and likely significant moisture, with more rain expected on Thursday. Need 2-3 inches of rain to create “a fire ending season”. Expects transition to fall conditions mid-September. Weather today, he stated, was “weakly cooperative”.
9. Represented at the meeting were: Forest Service, Bonner County Law Enforcement, Idaho National Guard, US Army Joint Base Lewis McChord, Alaska Incident Command Team, Priest Lake EMS, Priest Lake Volunteer Fire Department – they obviously work well together, lots of shared credit and respect evident.
10. Campgrounds are fully open both sides of the lake.
11. Stage II fire restrictions (as opposed to Evacuation Level I) will remain in effect for the near future = no fires, no chain saws, etc.
13. Structure Protection Team asked that homeowners make visible any cans of gasoline or tanks of propane so that teams can adjust when protecting a structure at risk.
14. No one is letting up. It is just that today went much better than most of the experts anticipated.
- Eric Johnson
Donations for the Tower Fire and Kaniksu Complex
Tom Kurth’s Alaska Type 2 team sincerely appreciates the generousity of the local communities. We are grateful for the support.
The fire fighters are being well cared for on this assignment. A caterer is hired to feed the firefighters and the team provides cases of water and gatorade. We recognize that this communty wants to show their appreciation to our fire fighters and for that reason, we respectfully ask for your help in the following ways.
We suggest that if someone wishes to donate cash to help firefighters that the giver consider an organization that is widely respected by the firefighters. That organization is the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.http://www.wffoundation.org/. Your donations to this group will support those firefighters and their families most in need of help.
Another great place to donate is the American Red Cross. This organization will help those displaced by this fire and other fires in our region. http://www.redcross.org/?scode=RSG00000E017
Should you want to donate non-perishable items to the firefighters, these are some items that the crews truly need and appreciate.
Tears Eye Drops
Emergen-C Vitamin Drink mixes
Obenauf Boot Grease
Gold Bond Powder
Please leave all donations at the West Pend Oreille Fire District located about 1 mile north on Hwy 57, across from the Priest River Lamanna High School. The contact is Les Kokanos, Chief of the West Pend Oreille Fire District (208) 290-5732 or 448-2035.
No Food donations at this time please.
August 20, 2015
Currently the only area/road/trail/recreation site closures on the forest are wildfire emergency closures. A listing of all of those closures, along with maps, is available on the IPNF website at www.fs.usda.gov/ipnf. Outside of these emergency closures the forest remains open for normal public access. However, it is important to understand that there are more fires on the landscape than we have seen in north Idaho since 1926. Wildfire is a rapidly changing environment, and areas that are open now may have to be closed in the future if fire activity increases, or if new fires are reported. During this busy fire season it is important for forest visitors to check in with their local Forest Service office, or the emergency closure website, before heading out to recreate on the national forest.
Our beloved coworker, Jessica, had a sudden stroke on Saturday.
This hard working 32 year old wife and mother of four has a long road ahead of her.
Please join us in supporting her and her family through this journey.
Donations are gratefully accepted for her here at the store.
Lovely strawberry starts are also for sale with all proceeds going to the family.
(Thank you Talia!) Thank you everyone.
Our donations to the segregated “Save the Thorofare” account through the "People Helping People" 501-C-3 nonprofit entity have shown good progress and are approaching $4000. It is a good start and we have donations from $10 to $1000 and promises of more. Our community support is important because it will demonstrate to government and institutional resources that it is a strongly desired project by large numbers of people.
As of now we have a mailing list of nearly fifty people who have donated and requested to be kept aware by email notification for updates and events.
One question in our mailbox (email@example.com) was: “What expenses are being incurred by the Breakwater Committee?” At the moment the only expenses coming from donations is $18.50 and the entire amount is merely the transaction fees that are incurred from donations made through PayPal. Of course our Breakwater Committee is totally volunteer. One of our committee members has actually scuba dived an inspection of the breakwater to catalog the most serious ruptures for repair.
Message from Gary Spackman, August 12, 2015, 3:30 pm
Last week, shortly after I wrote that water levels in Priest Lake continued to increase, the lake level readings declined slightly.
After conversing with the outlet operator and reviewing weather information, we determined that the declines were probably due to the wind.
Water levels in Priest Lake are now hovering near the three foot mark. Today, the high lake level reading is 3.01 feet, and the low reading is 2.97 feet. Priest Lake water levels continue to hold at or very near the full lake elevation for the recreational season.