Environment

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.

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.

wildfires
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.

Whiskey complex, wildfires
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.

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.

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.

Washington Fire Leaves Thousands Without AC, Gas, ATMs

Jul 21, 2014

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.

Preacher fire, wildfire
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

Whiskey complex, wildfires
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.

Whiskey complex, wildfires
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:

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

weather, temperature, chart
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.

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."

transportation, river, train derailment
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.

Colorado Gulch Fire
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.

Pages