Area fire crews responded to eight wildfires, which led to the evacuation of residents and temporarily turning away state park visitors, on Labor Day, Sept. 7, 2020.

The Dusty Fire ignited west of Emida, near Dusty Lane, north of Sanders Road. That fire forced the evacuation of an unknown number of residents, who are now able to return, according to Idaho Department of Lands Forestry Specialist Steve Cuvala.

“Residents are now able to return. They should be at a high level of awareness of their surroundings and of the equipment and crews working in the area,” Mr. Cuvala said.

Visitors to Heyburn State Park were temporarily turned away, Sept. 7, after the 22-acre Cliff Fire ignited near the Indian Cliffs Trail. Idaho Parks and Recreation staff limited traffic to the park in an effort to avoid congestion and make room for fire crews.

“Hand crews and a dozer completed line last night. Engines, a water-tender and crews are working the fire today (Sept. 8),” Mr. Cuvala said.

According to park staff, as of Sept. 8, the Indian Cliffs Trail remained closed. The Trail of the Coeur d’Alene between Plummer and Heyburn State Park is also closed. However, the park remained open to visitors. Trail of the Coeur d’Alene access in Harrison remains open as well.

The other six Labor Day fires are now contained to an area of 0.1 acres according to Mr. Cuvala.

“The Turtle Fire was up the St. Joe River Road near Turtle Lake… the Manifold Fire was southeast of Harrison… the Mile Post 61, Mile Post 61.5 and Caldwell Fires ignited in an area approximately 4 miles southeast of Fernwood…the Last Stop Fire ignited approximately 1 mile south of Fernwood near Carpenter Creek,” Mr. Cuvala said.

Six of the fires were determined to be caused by power lines downed by high winds. The Dusty Lane and the Manifold Fire remain under investigation.

Mr. Cuvala said that a 20-man crew from the Idaho Department of Lands West St. Joe Fire Protective District, US Forest Service, St. Maries Rural and local contracted engines, water tenders and dozers are expected on Sept. 8 to address the remaining fires.

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