A fire has been burning in remote wilderness straddling the Washington-Idaho border north of Priest Lake for the past six weeks.
The North Fork Hughes Fire is believed to have started from a lightning strike June 28 and was first discovered July 4. It has since grown to 1,150 acres.
Smokejumpers were sent to the fire after it was found but there were immediate problems, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Kari Maddox. The firefighters had to hike five hours to get to the fire, and soon reported it was burning in cedar trees 8 feet in circumference and the huge trees were falling down steep slopes toward them.
“It’s a roadless area,” Maddox said of the decision to send in smokejumpers rather than fire crews. “It was decided, for firefighter safety, to pull them off the fire.”