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The original item was published from 7/10/2023 10:27:15 AM to 10/2/2023 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: July 10, 2023

[ARCHIVED] ABLE 1 Helicopter Assists in Locating Forest Fire

Sheriff Placeholder

Kootenai County, Idaho –On July 5th, 2023, at around 3:15 PM, Central Dispatch aired a smoke check to local fire units in the area east of Hayden Lake in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest.  At the time, the Kootenai County Regional Air Support Unit, ABLE 1, was flying a training mission and was able to quickly locate the smoke and confirmed it was an active spreading fire.  Fire units were updated with the exact location and later dispatched aerial fire-fighting assets.  Those assets deployed and scooped water from Hayden Lake and used the water to extinguish the wild land fire before it became too destructive.  

Although ground units would have likely located the fire, due to the remote location, it would have been a delayed response in assessing the extent of the fire.  This new resource to the county, and with limited funding from the county, was able to assist in saving National Forest and likely homes or cabins in the area.  

ABLE 1 is donor funded and flown by volunteer pilots but staffed with Sheriff’s Office employees who utilize the Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera, spot light, and police radio. This asset has already assisted on several patrol and search and rescue related calls, and now has been utilized to assist the fire service.  

Questions regarding the Air Unit or to donate in support of the unit, please e-mail

Sheriff Robert B. Norris
By: Sergeant Ryan Miller

Contact: Lt. Zachary Sifford
Office: 208-446-2245
PIO Cell: 208-758-1045

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