Friday, August 1, 2014

Overnight Lightning Sparks 7 More Wildfires in Boise National Forest

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Lightning and high winds sparked and fanned the flames of new wildfires overnight.

At least seven new fires were reported in the Boise National Forest early Friday morning; all were four acres or less in size. That's in addition to seven fires that were sparked Wednesday in the BNF; all but two of those have been contained.

The largest fire in the BNF was Crooked Fire, which has scorched five acres southeast of Kirkham Hot Springs. Nearly 60 firefighters are on the scene there.

Additionally, fire officials report overnight thunderstorms in the Anderson Ranch Reservoir area caused some minor soil movement and road erosion aggravated by the 2013 Elk Complex fires, but as of Friday morning, the Mountain Home Highway District was reporting all roads as being passable.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lightning, Winds Spark New Fires in Boise National Forest, Barber Park

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Overnight lightning and high winds sparked and fanned the flames of seven new fires across the Boise National Forest. Firefighting officials say all of the new blazes are five acres or smaller and no structures have been threatened.

The largest is the Crooked Fire, about six miles southeast of Kirkham and about five acres in size. The only other fire to reach an acre or more is the Rab Fire, one mile east of Rabbit Creek Summit.

Officials say there's a good chance that more fires, holdovers from last night's spate of lightning, will be discovered over the next few days.

Fire crews, engines, helitack firefighters, a helicopter and rapellers are all on the scene.

Forest officials say the current dry conditions of the BNF and hot temperatures remain a concern.

Meanwhile, Boise Fire officials are still investigating the cause of a grass fire that scorched about 20 acres near Barber Park in Southeast Boise. High winds, clocked as high as 30 mph, fanned the flames through much of Wednesday evening. No structures were threatened.

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Video: Cougar Attacks Horse Near Popular Children's Summer Camp

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Visitors to a popular Northwest campground on the Washington-Idaho border were shocked and saddened Tuesday when a horse had to be put down following a cougar attack. The incident occurred near Camp Gifford, which plays host to more than 150 children each summer in rural Stevens County, Wash.

KREM-TV reports that that Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife theorize that the hot weather brought the cougar down from the mountains, but added that it was uncommon for a cougar to attack a horse.

Camp Gifford counselors alerted Fish and Wildlife officials to the attack.

"There was a kid looking at a raspberry bush, trying to pick a raspberry when the counselor saw the cougar resting in the trees," a camp spokesman told KREM-TV. "[The counselor] immediately went to the child, put himself between the cougar and the kid. And then it got up and walked away."

Camp counselors said they immediately closed the wilderness section of the camp and are "keeping kids closer following the attack."

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Firefighters at Whiskey Complex: Strong Concern for Public Entering Closed Areas

Posted By on Sun, Jul 20, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Fire backing slowly towards the SF Payette River

The total firefighting personnel on the front lines of the Whiskey Complex now tops 1,000, as more than 8,400 acres have burned in the Boise National Forest near the Boise County communities of Garden Valley and Pioneerville. Officials say the blaze is now 20 percent contained. Thirty-seven engines and 11 helicopters are on the scene.

Crews are spending the weekend creating controlled burns to eliminate dry fuels between an indirect fireline and the wildfire. Meanwhile, two additional hotshot crews have been shifted from the Payette National Forest to bolster crew strength on the Whiskey Complex.

Officials said the south flank remains "a big challenge" because the fire jumped Forest Road 395 "which is a key holding line." Four hotshot crews and six engines worked that flank throughout the day Saturday. Meanwhile, the southern flank remains about 1.5 miles from Pioneerville.

An area closure has been estabilished around the Whiskey Complex extending to points near Placerville, Centerville and Pioneerville. Additionly, the Hot Springs Campground remains closed.

But officials said they were very concerned because "there were many observations of the public entering the closed area." Firefighting managers said "this is a strong concern due to the uncontrolled fire and the risk if the fire suddenly became very active could put both the violator and incident responders in danger. The public is strongly urged to not enter the closure area."

And the Banks-to-Lowman Road (Highway 17) is open, but at times smoky and travelers need to use caution.

Fire seen from Highway 17 (Banks Lowman Highway)

Fire backing slowly towards the SF Payette River<br />

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Wildfires Mar Holiday Weekend; One Still Out of Control Near Hailey

Posted By on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Nearly a dozen homes on Croesus Creek Road, southwest of Hailey, have been evacuated as firefighting crews from multiple agencies continue to battle a blaze in the Croy Canyon Area.

Residents have been warned to be on high alert and visitors are being asked to steer clear of the area. Local firefighters are being joined on the front lines by firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Meanwhile, tirefighters are hoping to mop up the Hell Roaring Fire, which provided its own fireworks through the weekend just north of Pettit Lake in Idaho's Sawtooth Valley.

Nearly 170 firefighting personnel, including five crews, four engines and two helicopters, worked throughout the holiday weekend as the blaze scorched more than 300 acres. No structures were lost and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Highway 75 and most trails and campgrounds in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area are open, but a closure remains in effect on the Hell Roaring Trail and the southern portion of Forest Road 210 from Hell Roaring to Decker Flat.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Idaho Sued for 'Standing Idly By' in Lynx-Trapping Incidents

Posted By on Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 9:12 AM


Officials with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game say they're not aware of any lynx being legally trapped in Idaho "in many, many years;" but that didn't stop the Center for Biological Diversity from filing suit against Idaho, saying it is "improperly allowing trapping that leads to the death of lynx."

"It's shameful that Idaho officials have just sat idly by for years," Amy Atwood of the Center for Biological Diversity told the Missoulian. "Idaho can't just ignore federal law and go on condoning the trapping of this rare and magnificent cat."

Atwood's group estimates that fewer than 100 lynx remain in Idaho.

"We've had a couple of incidental takes," IDFG spokesman Mike Keckler told the Missoulian. "I can think of three in the last several years. Two were safely released and the third, a trapper mistook it for a bobcat and killed it. It was properly reported."

Lynx have been on the endangered species list since 2000, and in 2013 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed that 41,547 square miles, including parts of Idaho, Montana, Washington, Wyoming, Maine and Minnesota, be designated as critical habitat for lynx.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wildfire Frames Bend, Ore., Wedding Photo

Posted By on Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 9:13 AM


The uproarious and often touching ABC sitcom Modern Family wrapped up its season in May with the same-sex marriage of Mitchell and Cameron being interrupted by a wildfire. But no one was laughing June 7 when a real-life wedding, near Bend, Ore., experienced the exact same scenario.

"It was like a movie," said groom Michael Wolber. "We saw a fire truck roll up with sirens blaring."

This morning's Oregonian reports that wedding photos, including images of the wildfire in the background, posted on Facebook, have since gone viral. As of this morning, the photo has more than 88,000 "likes."

At first, the Two Bulls wildfire was threatening the Rock Springs Ranch, the scene of the wedding, and guests were told that they would have to relocate. But ultimately, the Oregonian reports that firefighters had a change of heart, allowing the ceremony to continue. The minister quickly married the couple, everyone cheered and then evacuated.

But just before the couple escaped to downtown Bend for a makeshift reception, a photographer sneaked a couple of incredible photos, with the wildfire framing one of their first kisses as husband and wife.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Multiple Idaho Agencies Respond to a String of Brush Fires

Posted By on Mon, May 26, 2014 at 9:08 AM

On this unofficial first weekend of summer, firefighters in Eastern Idaho got a taste of what lies in store for them in the coming months as firefighting companies from several agencies worked through Sunday night, battling and then mopping up multiple brush fires in Bingham County.

Dispatchers said many of the fires were sparked between Simplot Road to the Ross Fork Cemetery on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Initially, one structure was in danger, but firefighters successfully kept the flames in check. Officials said their initial conclusion was that the fires were the result of controlled burns that got out of control.

This morning's Idaho State Journal reports that fire companies from Fort Hall, Pocatello, Chubbuck and Blackfoot were joined by firefighters from the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the Snake River Hot Shots and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

No injuries were reported from the fires.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wildland Fire Conference Attracts Blazebusters From Across the Globe

Posted By on Tue, May 20, 2014 at 9:03 AM

It's just a matter of time. Regional fire managers say it's not a matter of if ... it's a matter of when the 2014 wildfire season begins. In fact, a number of Western U.S. locales, particularly in California, are already battling devastating blazes.

So, there is extra urgency at this week's Large Wildland Fires Conference being held at the University of Montana.

This morning's Missoulian reports that the weeklong conference, which kicked off Monday, "will explore the social, political and ecological effects of large-scale wildfires, and offer the latest research on climate, suppression, planning, fire behavior, fire use and ecology."

Attendees, including wildfire managers from Idaho and throughout the Intermountain West, will hear from top brass with the U.S. Forest Service and wildfire experts from as far away as Australia.

In recent years, seven of the 11 Western states have suffered some of their worst fire seasons in more than two decades.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Prescribed Burns This Week for Wood River Valley

Posted By on Mon, May 12, 2014 at 9:12 AM

The Bureau of Land Management will conduct two prescribed burns just east of Bellevue this week, with each fire expected to take two to three days, plus an additional two days of monitoring.

The burns are part of the Martin Canyon and Bell Mountain projects.

"The main purpose of the prescribed burns is to reduce the risk of large catastrophic wildfire in the Martin/Muldoon Canyon area," said a BLM spokesperson. "Additionally, these prescribed burns will enhance wildlife habitat, promote aspen regeneration, and improve watershed function."

The BLM cautioned that Wood River Valley residents may see some residual smoke in the southern part of the valley, but the majority of the smoke was expected to lift and move to the east.

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