Environment

Greg Lilly / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials are devising a statewide plan to protect the health of pollinating insects. The Capital Press reports that the Idaho State Department of Agriculture is asking agricultural organizations and other interested groups to speak up at a public meeting scheduled for September. The Idaho Potato Commission, the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Seed Association, Treasure Valley Beekeepers Club and the Idaho Honey Industry Association have already been invited. The department has created a draft...

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Last year’s massive Soda Fire burned more than 400 square miles of rangeland in southwest Idaho and eastern Oregon. That includes the food source for the area's three wild horse herds. When the Bureau of Land Management, which manages the Wild Horse and Burro Program , realized the horses were in peril, they rescued 279 animals last August. The future of the Soda Fire horses is a microcosm of the larger issue of wild horses in the West. We decided to follow one Soda Fire horse to understand...

Amy Meredith / Flickr Creative Commons

In an unprecedented move, Montana officials last week closed a 200-mile stretch of one of the most popular fisheries in the West. The Yellowstone River has been contaminated with a parasite that’s killed thousands of whitefish, the same parasite that continues to impact some Idaho rivers. The parasite first invaded the Upper Snake River in 2012. And Idaho Fish and Game officials tell the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that it's still there. The newspaper reports that unlike in Montana, Idaho didn’t...

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The City of Boise is holding a celebration today for the opening of a new public works facility. But the facility isn’t in Boise. In fact, it’s a county away. And it’s meant to do something cities don’t normally do: Clean water polluted by agriculture. It’s called the Dixie Drain project and KBSX's Adam Cotterell has reported on it in the past . Adam told Scott Graf what the Dixie Drain project is. Adam Cotterell : So you can think of a drain as the opposite of an irrigation canal. They’re...

Inciweb

It’s not clear yet what started the Cherry Road Fire Sunday afternoon. But what is clear is that dry brush and grass have fueled the flames, making for quickly changing conditions between Sunday and Monday. The fire is near the Idaho border, and has blown smoke into the Treasure Valley. A Type 2 firefighting team is now working to get control of the fire, which is threatening the popular Succor Creek State Park. But besides protecting people and structures in the area, firefighters have the...

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

We thought we'd put together a birthday gift to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial this Thursday, August 25. Help us make it by sharing your national park photos and memories! How To Submit: 1. You can post your photo and description on this Facebook post . 2. You can reply to this Tweet with your photo and description. 3. Or, go ahead and email your photo and description to our newsroom: kbsxnewsroom@boisestate.edu We can't finish this "gift" without your help, so please join us...

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Think of it as a giant bubble filled with wildfire smoke. Korri Anderson with the National Weather Service in Boise says the pyrocumulus cloud over the Pioneer Fire is the result of moisture being released from burning trees and brush. He says these kinds of clouds -- which can reach 35,000 feet -- develop in the afternoon when the conditions are just right. He says like normal clouds, pyrocumulus formations need the correct combination of temperature and humidity to form. But once they do,...

inciweb.gov

Three U.S. Senators were in Boise Monday to restate their support of legislation that would overhaul the way the nation pays for its biggest wildfires. Senators Mike Crapo , R-ID, Jim Risch , R-ID, and Ron Wyden , D-OR, visited the National Interagency Fire Center for the third time in support of the proposal. They want to use federal emergency money to pay for catastrophic fires - similar to the way damage from floods, earthquakes and hurricanes gets paid for. That, supporters argue, would...

Jerry McFarland / Flickr

Three environmental groups and two commercial fishing advocacy groups say they will file a lawsuit against the federal government over heat-related fish kills in the Columbia River Basin in the Pacific Northwest. The groups on Monday sent a 60-day notice of their intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for what the groups say are violations of the Clean Water Act. The groups say 250,000 adult sockeye salmon died in 2015 due to high temperatures in the Columbia River and lower...

Federal land managers on Thursday approved 10 more years of mining and a 500-acre expansion on public land in central Idaho for one of the largest molybdenum mines in the world. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service each issued decisions allowing the work at Thompson Creek Mine about 20 miles southwest of Challis. At a mile wide and half a mile deep the open pit mine is the fourth-largest mine producing primarily molybdenum, though it falls a few notches when mines that...

National Interagency Fire Center/Facebook

When fire activity goes up, MAFFS (Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems) go into action. Right now, two DoD C-130 planes, equipped with this unique fire suppression system, are flying out of Boise. The planes were called up by the National Interagency Fire Center. You may have seen the giant planes launching over Boise or video from an air drop over a wildfire. We found video of another side of MAFFS: Cleaning out the pipes before bringing on another load of retardant. So, what's it like...

Mike McMillan / inciweb.gov

Update Monday at 8:02 a.m.: An evacuation notice for the town of Lowman that was downgraded yesterday has been raised back up. The Boise County Sheriff yesterday evening re-implemented a level two evacuation for Lowman after having lowered it to a level one one earlier in the day. Level two is still a voluntary evacuation. The heightened alert comes after winds pushed the Pioneer fire further north. Update Sunday at 2:00 p.m.: The Boise National Fores t reports evacuation levels for Lowman...

InciWeb

As hot and dry summer weather continues, land officials hope expanded Stage 1 fire restrictions will keep new human-caused wildfires to a minimum. Parts of Twins Falls, Blaine, Camas and Cassia counties will be affected. Campfires must be within designated campground or other recreation sites, and outdoor smoking will also be limited. Stage one restrictions went into effect in southwestern Idaho on Monday. According to the National Interagency Fire Center , the number of acres burned by...

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Barber Dam in east Boise lost power one night in February of 2015 . Once offline, the flow of water through the hydroelectic plant stopped – causing the river to run dry for about eight hours. It turned out that Enel Green Power – an international company -- was leasing the facility from Ada County, and the company's alarm system had failed. Once news of the outage broke, biologists and environmental groups raised concerns about the fish likely killed from the low flows. In response, Ada...

Simon Engel / Flickr

Last week, an Idaho environmental group accused a plastic bag producer of violating federal laws on reporting toxic waste. Now the Idaho Conservation League says it was mistaken in its initial assessment. ICL says Novolex’s Jerome facility is in compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “We are pleased to say that Novolex has demonstrated to us that its Jerome facility was in compliance with EPA emission reporting requirements,” said Austin Hopkins, Conservation Assistant for...

inciweb.gov

The Pioneer fire. a southwest Idaho wildfire burning timber in rugged terrain, on Thursday crossed a state highway fire officials had hoped to use as a firebreak. Officials say the 20-square-mile blaze burning west to east crossed State Highway 21 about 5 miles south of Lowman. About 23 miles of the highway are closed from north of Idaho City to south of Lowman. Fire spokeswoman Susan Blake says ground crews and engines are responding to the area east of the highway where the fire crossed....

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

A brush fire near a housing development in Eagle was attacked quickly by firefighters earlier this week. They were able to battle the spark in part because of fire preventive measures taken by the developers who built the Avimor neighborhood. Located off Highway 55 at the base of the foothills, Avimor is one of 22 Firewise Idaho communities. Firewise is a kind of certification given to neighborhoods in the wildland-urban interface that take preventive wildfire measures. According to Avimor...

Dan Logan / Flickr Creative Commons

Millions of homes built on the edge of wild areas are complicating the work of wildfire managers who must decide how to deploy the nation's firefighting resources. Some 44 million homes have been built in what scientists call the wildland-urban interface, most in recent decades. The areas are often scenic but susceptible to fire. Protecting those homes from flames is expensive and drains resources that might otherwise protect forests, rangelands and critical habitat for wildlife. Besides the...

Graphic Artist: Sam Cornett / Solar Roadways Indiegogo

A northern Idaho city will be the first to get a demonstration of high tech hexagonal paving panels that can melt snow, among other features. The Bonner County Daily Bee reports that Sandpoint is working with Solar Roadways officials to install the panels at Jeff Jones Square. City administrator Jennifer Stapleton says the Solar Roadways owners plan to keep their hometown installation up to date with any upgrades to the panels. According to Stapleton, each panel has 56 clusters of 6 LED...

Lake Lou / Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Idaho’s Canyon County extension office wants to give green thumbs a helping hand. Horticulturist Rich Guggenheim says signing up for the Pest Alert Network is a great way to know what insects are causing problems in southwest Idaho, and how to deal with them. “The goal is help people know when to spray, if they’re going to choose that option, what to spray with, and – more importantly – the correct way to manage it.” The free program sends text alerts with information about...

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