Environment

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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Train Derailment
9:15 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Tough Task Pulling Boeing 737 Fuselages From Montana River

Three Boeing 737 fuselages landed in the Clark Fork River west of Missoula after a train derailed.
Credit Kagan Yochim @TripwithKagan / Twitter

A Montana Rail Link spokeswoman says it took about 12 hours to remove the first of three commercial airplane bodies that fell into the Clark Fork River after a train derailed.

Spokeswoman Lynda Frost said Monday that specialized machines are pulling the 20-ton fuselages attached to 50-ton flatbed cars from the embankment one at a time at a rate of 20 feet per hour.

Frost says the most difficult fuselage to retrieve was removed safely Sunday. Crews are working on the second fuselage Monday and plan to remove the third by Tuesday.

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Wildfires
9:06 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Evacuation Orders Lifted For Hailey Homeowners

This is a screengrab of the Colorado Gulch Fire from a time-lapse video captured by Backcountry Image Productions.
Credit Andrew Kane / Backcountry Image Productions

This story was updated at 4:26 p.m.

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office has lifted all mandatory evacuation orders for residents near Hailey impacted by the Colorado Gulch Fire.

The sheriff's website says some roads and bridges are still closed, but residents can return.

This story was updated at 4:15 p.m.

Authorities have expanded mandatory evacuation orders as a growing wildfire nears the community of Hailey.

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Water
7:02 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Farmers Urge EPA To 'Ditch' Proposed Clean Water Act Revisions

Angela Bailey farms decorative trees and shrubs near Gresham, Oregon.

Water is a common and often contentious issue in the West. But now, farmers across the country are also riled up because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to revise the 1972 Clean Water Act.

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Wildlife
3:52 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Federal Judge Blocks Logging Project In Grizzly Bear Area

Credit Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has blocked a logging project in the Kootenai National Forest over concerns that roads built for the project may harm a threatened population of grizzly bears.

In approving the 36,600-acre Pilgrim project, the U.S. Forest Service called for installing gates on some of the planned roads that would allow future access.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ruled Monday the forest's management plan requires officials to permanently close the roads once the logging project is completed, or else close other roads in the area.

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Wildlife
12:38 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Environmental Groups File Federal Lawsuit Over Incidental Trapping Of Idaho Lynx

Credit Lefteris Katsourmits / Flickr Creative Commons

Five environmental groups have filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Idaho over incidental trapping of federally protected Canada lynx.

The groups filed suit Monday in Idaho federal court. They contend the state is violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing recreational trapping that inadvertently ensnares lynx.

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Environment
10:47 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Updated 'Shade Rule' Aims To Protect Idaho Fish Habitat

Credit Oregon Department of Forestry / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho has long restricted cutting down trees along stream banks as a way to keep water cool for trout and a salmon. On July 1, an updated version of the so-called shade rule goes into effect.   

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Wildfires
10:03 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Surges Of Rain, Snow Keep Western Wildfires At Bay

Scenes like this have been rare in Idaho and other Western states this year, as the U.S. wildfire season is off to a slow start.
Credit Douglas Forest Protective Association

The number of acres burned by wildfires across the U.S. so far this year is less than half the 10 year average.

Figures from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise show 865,030 acres have burned this year throughout the country. That’s just 44 percent of the 10-year average. The 25,096 fires are 70 percent of the average.

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