Pioneer Fire near Priest River Grows to 200 acres, evacuations ordered

Thursday July 29, 2021

(Priest River, Idaho) This afternoon personnel from the Idaho Department of Lands (IDL), West Pend Oreille Fire District, and the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Pioneer Fire, a 30-acre incident in a steep, heavily timbered area approximately 3 miles northwest of Priest River, Idaho.  Since first reported to dispatch at 1:30 pm PT, the fire is estimated to have grown to 200 acres.  According to the sheriff’s office, Highway 57, which is east of the fire, remains open.

The Bonner County Sheriff’s office ordered evacuations for Saddler Creek, Skunk Cabbage, Mundy and portions of Bodie Canyon Road and Slippery Slope.  Notifications were made door-to-door by deputies, via the Nixle notification service, Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), and Reverse 911. Local area dispatch encourages Bonner County residents to sign up for Nixle alerts online by visiting or by texting your zip code to 888777.  On the Nixle website, the sheriff’s office reported those displaced by evacuations may go to Priest River Community Church and large animals from evacuated areas may be boarded at the Newport Rodeo Grounds.

The aggressive initial attack efforts by more than 50 firefighters are supported from the air by three Fire Boss air tankers and a heavy-lift helicopter.  Ground support includes ten engines, four dozers, water tenders and an excavator.  Tom Fleer, IDL’s Pend Oreille Lake Supervisory Area manager reported a type 3 incident management team will take over management of the fire at 8:00 am PT tomorrow.  Type 3 teams typically provide extended initial attack on wildfires using resources from several organizations and are organized with a flexible, expandable command structure that can accommodate changing fire conditions.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.





Scott Phillips

Idaho Department of Lands, Policy and Communications Chief