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Small wildland fire burns near Hot Springs

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HOT SPRINGS – The Mission Valley made it through what is normally the hottest, driest periods of the summer with relatively few burns, although a small fire did start last week.

The Welcome 1002 fire started on Sept. 2 and grew to 60 acres. The fire slowly burned grass and timber 2.5 miles southwest of town. Eight smokejumpers, a helicopter, six skidders and two bulldozers fought the fire. Later in the week, some equipment was taken off the fire. 

“They’re just monitoring it, not suppressing it 100 percent,” said C.T. Camel, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes fire prevention specialist. 

Humidity and precipitation slowed the blaze further on Sep. 6, while 110 personnel from a local type-three management team worked the fire. 

As of last week, the fire had not threatened any structures. No one has been evacuated due to the blaze. The HS-1000 and HS-3000 roads have been closed in response to the fire. 

Cool, wet conditions mean the fire isn’t likely to get out of control. According to Camel, the area where the fire is burning has features that have minimized its activity. 

“There’s a little drainage there and a creek,” Camel said. “That’s keeping it in check — the area there is green.”

The Hot Springs fire isn’t the source of most of the recent smoke in the area. Forest managers are performing prescribed burns in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in Idaho that brought smoke to the Mission Valley last week. 

The Welcome 1002 fire is too small to generate much smoke, according to Camel.


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