BLM

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Southwest Idaho’s nearly 300,000 acre Soda Fire is the largest this year in areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Most of the burned area was habitat for the sage grouse, the bird whose status as a contender for the Endangered Species List could affect ranching, recreation and energy production in 11 western states. That is why the national director of the BLM was in Boise Wednesday to talk about rehabilitating that land.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Federal authorities have made public the final management plan for six wilderness areas and 16 wild and scenic river segments in southwestern Idaho.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Monday published on the Federal Register the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Management Plan.

Google Maps

On average, nine fires spark each year along Interstate 84, burning more than 1,000 acres. Now, the Bureau of Land Management is partnering with various agencies to cut down on the risk of roadside wildfires.

Fire officials are building a firebreak along a 10-mile stretch of the highway to keep fire starts from trailer chains or hot mufflers to a minimum.

wild horses, nevada, wildlife
James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says it will remove fewer wild horses and burros from the range across the West this summer because of budget constraints and overflowing holding pens.

Under its roundup schedule announced this week, the bureau plans to gather 2,400 of the animals through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year. All but 215 of them will be horses.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador introduced a bill Wednesday that would allow a parcel of federal land to be transferred into county ownership for use as a gun range. 

The 31-acre area is near Riggins, along the Salmon River in north-central Idaho. An act of Congress is needed because the land currently falls under the protection of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Some Western Republican officials say their states are missing out on revenues and opportunities to prevent wildfires because they don't have enough control over public lands.

The group on Friday included U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop and state lawmakers from Montana, Nevada and Utah.

The gathering follows an announcement last week from another group of Western officials who said it's time they manage federal lands rich in natural resources.

But critics are questioning where states will find resources to manage vast ranges.

Mel Meier / InciWeb

Federal officials say they lost a prime opportunity to rehabilitate and reseed areas burned over the summer by wildfires because of the partial government shutdown.

Workers for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management returned to work Thursday after a 16-day lay-off.

Zeke Robinson

The Oregon Trail passed through Idaho for hundreds of miles 150 years ago. In some places you can still see the ruts from the wagons that brought people west.

Last week archaeologist Suzann Henrikson drove a local historian and a local Boy Scout leader out to see a well-preserved part of the trail near the Snake River. Henrikson works for the Bureau of Land Management in Burley. She and her guests found something unexpected.

“Hundreds and hundreds of holes dug directly in the corridor of the trail, the ruts themselves. It’s just ghastly,” Henrikson says.

Trees, Forests
Boise State Public Radio

A group of Idaho lawmakers gathers tomorrow at the Statehouse to begin weighing whether the federal government should transfer public lands to the state to manage.  The all-day meeting will include presentations from Boise National Forest Supervisor Cecilia Seesholtz, Deputy Attorney General Steve Strack and State Forester David Groeschl. He's with the Idaho Department of lands.

BLM, land, outdoors
Pete Zimosky / Idaho Statesman

Idaho’s state director for the Bureau of Land Management is now running the daily operations for the entire federal agency. Steve Ellis is in Washington D.C. temporarily serving as acting deputy director. 

It’s a job he did for a few weeks back in 2011. This time around, Ellis will be in the agency’s number two position until November.

His temporary home is an apartment in Arlington, VA., far away from his family and horses back in Boise. “I’ve had to get used to taking the subway to work again,” he chuckles over the phone in a recent interview.

Bureau of Land Management Idaho

It’s the last day of July, and Idaho’s wildfire season is keeping land managers busy. There are currently seven large fires burning in the state.

Jessica Gardetto is with the Bureau of Land Management Idaho office. She says that compared to last year’s record-breaking fire season, Idaho’s rangeland fire picture looks normal.

Officials in Ketchum say private supporters of a proposed whitewater park will pay for an environmental assessment on a possible transfer of federal land. That land is needed before the project can move forward. 

Ketchum Parks and Recreation Department Director Jennifer Smith told city councilors last week that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has listed the city's land transfer request as a low priority. Because of budget restraints, the agency won't complete a review in less than three years.

BLM

It’s been a busy afternoon and evening for firefighters in southwestern Idaho.  Several new fires have threatened structures in the region.  It’s not clear if any have actually burned.

A brush fire has spread quickly near Pole Gulch north of Blacks Creek southeast of Boise. It started late this afternoon and is burning grass and sage.  The Bureau of Land Management says it has ordered two 20-person crews to the site, as well as four engines, two dozers and aerial support.  The fire is south of Lucky Peak.  At 7:30 PM, the BLM estimated the size of the Pole Fire to be 700 acres. 

Humans Caused Most Fires Around Boise So Far

Jul 26, 2012
Mallory Eils / BLM

A total of 80 fires have burned on the Boise District of the Bureau of Land Management this year. Malloy Eils of the BLM says 61 of those have been caused by humans.

This ratio is pretty normal. Seventy-five-percent of fires in a season are usually human caused. Eils says what’s been on the rise, though, is the number of fires. She says it’s because of extra dry conditions.

Update 7:35 p.m. – A BLM spokesperson says the threat of damage to homes near highway 55 and the old Horseshoe Bend Road is greatly reduced. Five fire engines that responded from the cities of Eagle and Horseshoe Bend are being sent home. However the fire won’t be contained for at least 24 hours. That means it could flare up again and spread. BLM crews will continue to work on hot spots through the night.

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