- The Cape Horn fire burns in rugged terrain rising from the south end of Lake Pend Oreille in the Idaho Panhandle.
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, who declared the fire an emergency for Bonner and Kootenai counties on July 6, toured the area as residents who had been evacuated were told they could return to their homes. Eight structures, including six homes, have been reported destroyed since the fire was sparked on July 5. The cause remains under investigation.
Originally reported at 2,000 acres, more accurate mapping put the blaze at 1,380 acres. As of July 9, it had further shrunk to 1,155 acres.
A total of 322 personnel are working the fire near the small town of Bayview, and hot temperatures and winds have been a concern. Firefighters are also contending with rugged hillsides, snags and old mine shafts. Meanwhile, falling rocks and debris pose a hazard to residents trying to access their homes in the Cape Horn area.
According to a Bayview area blogger, however, not all evacuees are being permitted to return. A July 9 post on Bay Views states that thousands of seasonal visitors maintain summer residences in RVs, float homes and traditional houses in the picturesque lakeside town.
"I encourage all seasonal residents and boat owners to bring with them any receipts or other evidence that they are not just looky loos, which get in the way of the fire fighters but have a legitimate reason for coming to Bayview," Bay Views wrote. "They have a financial interest in this place."