Environment

Wildfires
10:13 am
Thu July 31, 2014

7 Lightning-Caused Fires Spark On The Boise National Forest

Seven small lightning-caused wildfires are burning on the Boise National Forest after Wednesday night's storm. Forest officials say all the fires are small, at less than 5 acres each, and no structures are threatened.

Firefighters already have lines built around most of the new starts.

The largest fire is called the Crooked Fire, burning southeast of Kirkham.

Fire officials say more lightning-caused fires could be detected over the next few days.

Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio

Wildlife
12:02 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Idaho Suspends Plan For Hired Wolf Hunter

Credit Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

Idaho Fish and Game officials say they're suspending a plan to use a hired hunter to kill wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness until at least November of 2015.

Idaho's Wildlife Bureau Chief Jeff Gould made the declaration in a document filed with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week.

The Fish and Game Department and the U.S. Forest Service are being sued by Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project and other environmental groups over the plan to have a hired hunter kill wolves in the protected wilderness area.

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Wildfires
10:50 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Idaho's Whiskey, Mack Fires Fully Contained

Mop up work on the fires will continue this week.
Credit Boise National Forest

Idaho's Whiskey Complex and Mack fires burning north of Boise are now fully contained. A Boise National Forest spokesman says mop up and monitoring of the fires will continue Monday.

The Whiskey Complex was a series of fires sparked by lightning on July 13. It has burned 9,446 acres south of Garden Valley on the Boise National Forest. Spokesman David Olson says isolated areas of smoke will still be visible this week as the fire smolders within its containment lines.

The Mack fire was one of 27 fires started by lightning last week. It burned 229 acres.

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Wildfires
5:24 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Feds Offer Wildfire Assistance, But So Far No Payments To Homeowners

Firefighters cut a line in the trees in order to contain the Carlton Complex fire.
Inciweb/National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 4:09 pm

Federal funds are being used to help fight the wildfires that have raged across the Northwest this summer. But so far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency isn't handing out money directly to owners of the nearly 200 homes lost in the blazes.

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Wildfires
11:20 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Fire Managers Nearing Containment On Most Lightning-Caused Wildfires North Of Boise

Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This post was updated at 11:15 a.m. July 25, 2014.

Fire officials say they've nearly contained all 27 of Wednesday's lightning-caused wildfires on the Boise National Forest and state lands north of Boise.

The Mack Fire is still the largest, now estimated at 270 acres. It's now 10 percent contained.

This post was updated at 10:25 a.m. July 24, 2014.

A Boise National Forest spokesman says 14 of 27 lightning-caused fires burning on federal and state lands north of Boise are now contained.

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Wildfires
10:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

At More Than 9,000 Acres, The Whiskey Complex Fire Is 75 Percent Contained

A firefighter uses a drip torch along the South Fork Payette River Road.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This story was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 24, 2014. 

The Whiskey Complex Fire burning in the Boise National Forest is now 75 percent contained.

The fire is estimated at 9,446 acres. The Forest Service says 851 people are staffing the fire, which is expected to be fully contained by July 28.

The voluntary evacuation order for 60 homes along the South Fork Road has been lifted, while the closure of the South Fork Payette River Road is still in effect. Access to that road is only available to fire crews and residents.

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Environment
6:30 am
Thu July 24, 2014

At Least One Idaho Wind Farm Has Been Scrapped Because Of Sage Grouse

A southeast Idaho wind farm
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The New York Times reports more than two dozen energy projects in the West have been scuttled because of sage grouse, at least one of those projects was supposed to be built in Idaho.

The sage grouse represents a much bigger challenge for states like Idaho than its turkey-like stature might suggest. The bird is considered an important part of the high desert ecosystem, but it's sensitive to man-made development and its numbers are declining.

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Wildfires
2:47 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Firebreak Along I-84 To Reduce Risk Of Roadside Wildfires

A look at I-84 at Simco Road.
Credit 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.

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Wildfires
4:37 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Washington Fire Leaves Thousands Without AC, Gas, ATMs

Okanogan County currently estimates 150 to 200 homes burned to the ground.

The Carlton Complex fire, the most destructive wildfire currently burning in the Northwest, has left thousands of people without air conditioning and refrigeration. It has closed gas stations and shut down ATMs in north-central Washington.

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Wildfires
10:20 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Blaine County's Preacher Fire Nears Containment

The Preacher Fire has burned 33,864 acres.
Credit Courtesy Bureau of Land Management

This story was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 18, 2014

The Preacher Fire, burning in Blaine County, is now 60 percent contained and fire managers expect full containment Friday night. 

The lightning-caused fire sparked July 14 and has since grown to nearly 34,000 acres.

The fire is burning in grass and brush. A red flag warning expected Friday means winds could pick up and humidity can drop, making a fire more likely to flare up.

This story was updated at 6:10 p.m. July 16, 2014

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Wildfires
9:59 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Dry Conditions, Hot Weather Make Fighting Idaho's Whiskey Complex Wildfire A Challenge

Firefighters work to clear brush on the Boise National Forest as smoke from the Whiskey Complex hangs in the air.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

Fire officials working to contain and control the Whiskey Complex wildfires burning near Garden Valley, Idaho say conditions on the ground are more like late August, not mid July. "This demonstrates how the very dry vegetation challenges the suppression efforts," spokesperson Dave Olson writes.

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Wildfires
9:50 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Update: Idaho's Whiskey Complex Wildfire Closes Sections Of Boise County

The Whiskey Complex wildfire burning near Garden Valley is now 4,500 acres.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This story was updated at 9:41 a.m. July 17, 2014

The Whiskey Complex wildfire burning in Boise County has grown to 4,500 acres and could expand today because of forecast westerly winds.

The Boise National Forest reports hot temperatures and dry fuels have been a challenge for firefighters working to contain the Complex. It's estimated at 3 percent contained.

Voluntary evacuations are still in place for residents in Pioneerville and those along the South Fork Payette River road.

Here's an update from the Boise National Forest:

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Weather
1:40 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Is It Hot Enough In Idaho? Keep Cool And Save Money With These 9 Tips

The life-giving sun can sometimes be too much to take in an Idaho summer. We have ways you can cool your home down.
Credit photonut-mi / Flickr

The last few days have been scorchers, and the National Weather Service says the heat will continue at least into next week. Everyone is looking for ways to stay cool.

One spot that should always provide respite is your home. Idaho Power has these tips on how to keep your house cool, while saving a little money on air conditioning.

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Wild Horses
9:40 am
Mon July 14, 2014

BLM To Remove Fewer Wild Horses In Idaho, The West

Wild horses spar in Nevada.
Credit 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.

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Wildfires
3:56 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Hot Weather Complicates Fire Fighting Efforts

A view of the Mills Canyon fire, north of Wenatchee, Washington.

Triple-digit temperatures are expected to complicate the effort to battle The Mills Canyon fire in central Washington.  

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Wilderness
6:00 am
Fri July 11, 2014

50th Anniversary Of The Wilderness Act Sparks Conversation, Idaho Lecture Series

The Sawtooth Wilderness is a rugged landscape in Central Idaho.
Credit Greg Dusic / U.S. Forest Service

Fifty years ago, the Wilderness Act was signed into law, setting aside large areas of land in their natural state. Today, almost 110 million acres have been designated as wilderness by the U.S. Congress.

Idaho is celebrating the milestone with a lecture series in the shadow of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area, sandwiched between Atlanta and Stanley.

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Wildfires
5:54 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Start A Wildfire? Expect A Bill

File photo of 2013's Little Queens Fire near the town of Atlanta, Idaho.

Whether it’s due to negligence or arson, thousands of wildfires each year are caused by humans. And the person or business who starts a fire can expect a bill.

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Wildfires
12:51 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Sheriff: Teen Sparked Central Idaho Wildfire With Fireworks

Firefighters look for hotspots after the Beaver Creek Fire burned through land near Hailey, Idaho in 2013.
Credit USDA / Flickr Creative Commons

Blaine County Sheriff officials say a central Idaho wildfire that caused 20 homes to be evacuated was started by an 18-year-old man lighting fireworks on private property.

The sheriff's office says no charges have been filed but an investigation is ongoing. The office has not yet released the man's name.

Officials say the teenager confessed to causing the 728-acre Colorado Gulch Fire —which started last Sunday— after investigators found fireworks where the blaze first sparked.

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Weather
2:23 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Boise Logs 45 Triple-Digit Days In 5 Years, More Heat Is On The Way

Credit Data: National Climate Data Center | Chart: Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The National Weather Service in Boise is predicting a week of triple-digit, or near-triple-digit temperatures for the Treasure Valley.

Over the last 30 years, Boise has logged, on average, nine days of 100 degrees or warmer each year. The last two years have exceeded the average with 14 days at or above 100 in 2013, and 12 days in 2012. Data from the National Climate Data Center show Boise has had 45 days of temperatures at or above 100 degrees from 2009-2013.

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Environment
10:44 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Feds Doubt Climate Change's Impact On Wolverines

A top federal wildlife official says there's too much uncertainty about climate change to prove it threatens the snow-loving wolverine — overruling agency scientists who warned of impending habitat loss.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Noreen Walsh said there's no doubt that the wolverine's high-mountain habitat is getting warmer.

But she said any assumptions about how that will change snowfall patterns are based on "speculation."

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