Randy Craig / Idaho Fish and Game

Soda Fire Burns Historic Idaho Places, Looters Take Advantage

Idaho’s largest fire this year burned 279,144 acres in the southwest corner of the state. That figure is from a list released over the weekend that details the Soda Fire’s impacts. The list has numbers on nearly 30 items, including 592 miles of fences burned and 68 golden eagle nests destroyed. It also says 16 cultural sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places were burned. M.J. Byrne with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) won’t be specific about the historic sites damaged...
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As high winds continued to fan a wildfire near Omak, Martín de la Rosa and his co-workers got the day off from picking apples because of the smoke. They drank beer and listened to music outside a cluster of small cabins surrounded by orchards. But they didn’t get any information about fires burning in the Okanogan Complex until they were dangerously close to home. By the time the foreman came to see them, de la Rosa says, “We were seeing smoke, and planes were out spraying.” 

Colette Cassinelli / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho public schools have received nearly $16 million after the state auctioned off cabins at Priest Lake.

The Spokesman-Review reports 35 lakefront cabin sites were purchased by the cabin owners for an average of $447,000 each at the Friday auction at the Coeur d'Alene Resort.

The highest-priced parcel in the auction went for $643,000, and the lowest-priced sold for $341,000.

The greater sage grouse is a peculiar and distinctly Western bird. It's about the size of a chicken and about as adaptable as the dodo bird, which is to say it's not very adaptable at all — at least not in a human-driven time scale.

In biological terms, the greater sage grouse is perfectly adapted for its habitat: the rolling hills of knee-high silver scrub that's sometimes called the sagebrush sea. It's the oft-forgotten parts of the fast-changing West — The Big Empty, as settlers used to call it.

NASA/Jeff Schmaltz

Monday's crisp and clear air is a welcome relief after weeks of wildfire smoke fumigated valleys around Idaho. The real-time monitor from the Department of Environmental Quality shows just how much things have improved, even in places where fires are still raging.

Randy Craig / Idaho Fish and Game

Idaho’s largest fire this year burned 279,144 acres in the southwest corner of the state. That figure is from a list released over the weekend that details the Soda Fire’s impacts. The list has numbers on nearly 30 items, including 592 miles of fences burned and 68 golden eagle nests destroyed. It also says 16 cultural sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places were burned.

Courtesy: J.R. Simplot Company

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a potato genetically engineered to resist the pathogen that caused the Irish potato famine and that still damages crops.

Idaho-based J.R. Simplot Co. says that the Russet Burbank can also be stored at colder temperatures longer to reduce food waste.

The potato is the second generation of Simplot's Innate potatoes and also includes the first generation's reduced bruising and a greater reduction in a chemical produced at high temperatures that some studies have shown can cause cancer.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Comic book conventions, known has "cons", happen in nearly every city in the country. Some are money-making affairs, others are organized by fans for fans. But in Boise, the public library has gotten in on this pop-culture phenomenon.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul stopped in Boise as part of his Western tour to rally support and attract voters in a red-dominated state that is likely to have its pick of candidates during the GOP primary election.

Paul spoke to nearly 300 people at Boise State University on Thursday. He then left an afternoon rally in Nampa that's followed by a GOP barbeque in Idaho Falls.

The Kentucky senator's swing through the West has already included rallies in Alaska and Washington, with other stops planned in Utah and Wyoming.

Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge in North Dakota has blocked a new rule that would give the federal government jurisdiction over some state waters.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson of North Dakota issued a temporary injunction Thursday against the Obama administration rule. The rule gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers authority to protect some streams, tributaries and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

A nearly toothless, 25-year-old male grizzly bear that repeatedly broke into buildings in eastern Idaho has been euthanized.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game in a statement Thursday says the grizzly was killed Monday near Island Park because it had become habituated to human-related foods.

Regional Wildlife Manager Curtis Hendricks says the bear made no direct threat to humans but its advanced age and decreasing ability to forage naturally increased the potential for conflict.

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