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Clearwater Complex Fire news and updates Print E-mail
Written by Ben Jorgensen, The Clearwater Progress   

Here is a sampling of the articles you'll find in this week's issue of The Clearwater Progress concerning the Clearwater Complex Fire aftermath. To read these articles, along with more news, pick up this week's issue of The Clearwater Progress, or subscribe online.


Crews battling multiple fire complexes

    8-27-15-bird-house-and-burn As the Clearwater Complex fire begins to taper down other area fire complexes are starting to roar, resulting in a shift of resources.

     There have been no reports of additional homes burning in the Kamiah area since the loss of about 50 on Aug. 14-15. However, the overall number of homes lost has unofficially increased to 60+.

Wind driven fires destroyed some homes but left others intact. This scene was observed near Woodland after erratic winds scorched this concrete home, but spared the little birdhouse at the corner of the yard. Ben Jorgensen/Progress

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God is making friendships through


adversity says Woodland Friends Church pastor 

     Fire has changed the community of Woodland and Pastor Kevin Davis hopes it’s for the better.

     When fire threatened the quiet farming community north of Kamiah following a lightning storm on Aug. 10, people from every corner came forward to defend one another, the land they love, and the homes of neighbors, friendly or otherwise.

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Labrador fields concerns about fire management


     Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador fielded questions and input from about 45 people during a tour of The Life Center at Kamiah Aug. 20. Many of those who attended the hastily arranged tour came from the Woodland and Pardee areas north of Kamiah.

     Idaho County commissioners Skip Brandt and Jim Chmelik accompanied Labrador on a tour of the Forest Service Fire Camp at Kooskia, The Life Center, and a visit with Clearwater County Commissioners at Orofino.

Raul Labrador responds to comments at a meeting at The Life Center Church at Kamiah. Ben Jorgensen/Progress

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Farmers save the day

      Greg Heun reached for his camera in the front pocket of his shirt to take wildfire photos but for some reason his fingers couldn’t grasp the camera’s lanyard hanging from the pocket.

     To his great surprise the lanyard had melted off the camera during his travels through his neighborhood.

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Montana crew in yellow truck need praising

     Just when it looked like the Johnson family had staved off flames advancing on their home in Almost Heaven near Woodland, the winds shifted and tried to take their home from the backside. Fire literally burned all around their yard, devouring stacks of cedar and locust, and tons of hay.

     He credits the help of a Montana firefighting crew and the family’s quick mowing and watering for preventing the house from being taken.

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Recyclers won’t take copper without fire chief's okay

     Due to the high number of thefts of copper tubing over the past few years, recycling outfits are requiring Kamiah fire victims obtain Kamiah Fire Chief Dan Musgrave’s endorsement.

     Musgrave said recyclers such as Pacific Steel in Lewiston want to make sure that copper being turned in is actually from the homeowners who lost their homes and not from thieves trying to take advantage of a situation.

Musgrave can be reached either by cell phone at 935-5231 or email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Officials ask for help with trash Print E-mail
Written by Janene Engle, The Clearwater Progress   

Solutions found for excess trash removal in the area

     “It’s been interesting in the garbage world,” said owner/operator Robert Simmons of Simmons’ Sanitation in Kamiah; of the recent influx of trash that has been flooding into the transfer station due to the local wild fires.

     Many people are just starting to clean up properties ravaged by fire by clearing everything from household waste to burned yard materials. Then there are those who just want to remove excess debris from around their homes to prevent it from becoming “fuel” for any future fires that threaten the area. Simmons highly recommends everyone to do so, stating that it’s wise to keep your property and areas surrounding your home clean and clutter free.

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Expect delays on Highway 12 Print E-mail

U.S. 12 diesel cleanup now underway

     Cleanup is now underway on a section of U.S. 12 two miles west of Kamiah where a 1,900-gallon diesel fuel spill occurred Aug. 6. The cleanup was delayed because of active wildfire in the area, and the effort required environmental clearances.

     Motorists can expect the roadway to be restricted to one lane, with flaggers guiding drivers. Temporary signals may be used to guide alternating traffic at night. Restrictions will be in place around the clock for the next two weeks as Tetra Tech, of Missoula, Mont., completes the work.

Fun at the Fair Print E-mail

Clearwater Valley 4-Hers had a fun time with their lambs. Clockwise from front left: Brandon Costa, Lynnsey Wilson, Abby Bytheway, Kaycee Costa, Gabe Eades, Hannah Bandle, and receiving a kiss front and center is Doug Wilson. For fair results and more photos, pick up this week's copy of The Clearwater Progress or subscribe online.

You can also view more fair photos by visiting our photo hosting site by clicking here.

Obituaries, Death Notices in the August 27, 2015 issue Print E-mail

John Crites, 68

     John Crites, 68, a longtime resident of the Clearwater Valley, passed away peacefully at his home Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015.

     John was born Nov. 6, 1946 in Emmett, Idaho to Vernon and Mona Lee Allen Crites.

     He grew up in southern Idaho and northern California.

     After graduating high school he joined the United States Navy and then the National Guard.

     John was a true entrepreneur. He owned many different businesses including Sepco and Eldon’s.

     He loved life and lived it fully. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, and camping. John was a member of the Kamiah Gun Club and the NRA.

     John was preceded in death by his wife Shannon Crites; his parents Mona Lee Allen and Vernon Crites; and brother, Emmett Crites.

     He is survived by his sons, John Crites Jr. of Redding, Calf. and Allen Crites of Spokane, Wash., grandsons Easton, Ryan and Jared, a granddaughter Kristen, great-granddaughters Kaelyn and Kamila, and sister Dixie Sorenson.

     A private celebration of life will be held at a later date. Please send all contributions to Kamiah Fire Relief Fund at the Kamiah Community Credit Union, P.O. Box 68, Kamiah,ID 83536 or it can be dropped off at either branch.

     Trenary Funeral Home of Kooskia assisted the family.


Cheryl Lee Wissler, 70

     Cheryl Lee Wissler, 70, died on Aug. 14, 2015 while evacuating from the Lawyer Complex Forest fires in Kamiah, Idaho. She was saving her beloved pet chickens when she slipped and fell. She is survived by her husband of 35 years, Ed Wissler; her two children Douglas C. Wright and Lauriann Wright-Kim; and her sister Che’rie Clark and brother Ron Pirtle.8-27-15-obit--cheryl-wissle

     Cheryl was a retired medical transcriptionist. She was raised in Crescent City, Calif. and moved to Santa Rosa, Calif. her senior year where she graduated from Santa Rosa High. She loved the outdoors and the country life. She was an avid gardener with beautiful gardens all around her house. She was also an avid crafter, always creating a new and unique homemade project.

     Cheryl also loved to tend to her seven pet chickens. She will be missed greatly by her family and friends.

     A memorial tree is being planted in one of her favorite spots in her yard, where her memorial will be held next Spring 2016 after the snow melts.


Faith Ann Cook

     Funeral services for Faith Ann Cook will be Saturday, Aug. 29 at 11 a.m. at The Life Center, 4432 Highway 12, Kamiah. A potluck dinner will follow.


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