Environment

Wildfires
3:06 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Beaver Creek Fire Update: Some Blaine County Residents Allowed To Return Home

A helicopter makes a drop on a dozer line around a home to protect it from the Beaver Creek Fire on Sunday, August, 18, 2013 in outside of Ketchum.
Credit Ashley Smith / Twin Falls Times-News

Update Aug. 20, 3:06 p.m.: More Blaine County residents can return home who were forced to evacuate because of the Beaver Creek Fire.

The latest update from the Blaine County sheriff's office reiterates that people who are allowed to go back are still under a pre-evacuation notice and should still be prepared to evacuate.

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Wildfires
12:47 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Wildfire Resources Stretched To Their Thinnest Level In 5 Years

Credit Ashley Smith / The Times-News

U.S. wildfire managers have raised the national preparedness level to its highest designation for the first time in five years. They say it reflects a very high level of fire activity. 

Officials at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise say nearly 32,000 wildfires have burned 3.4 million acres this year. That might sound like a lot, but it’s only 60 percent of the country’s 10-year average.

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Clean Water Act
10:32 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Idaho Sugar Company Fined For Water Quality Violation

Federal regulators say the Amalgamated Sugar Co. has agreed to pay $7,500 for violating the Clean Water Act at its facility in Paul.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced the enforcement action Monday.

EPA investigators say the company discharged stormwater without a permit last year. The agency cited the company for discharging 4,000 gallons of stormwater from a storage lagoon to a drainage and irrigation ditch that empties into the Snake River without permission in its permit.

Wildfires
8:32 am
Tue August 20, 2013

Cost Of Fighting Idaho's Beaver Creek Fire At $11.6 Million

Firefighters with the private contract company Great Basin Fire, mop up part of the Beaver Creek Fire in the Baker Creek area on Monday, August, 19, 2013 north of Ketchum, Idaho.
Credit Ashley Smith / Twin Falls Times-News

Update 10:59 a.m.:  Fire managers say the cost of fighting the Beaver Creek Fire is now at $11,587,000.  The total reflects costs through 5:00 p.m. Monday.  The number is nearly $700,000 higher than the figure first announced at a briefing in fire camp Tuesday morning.

The Associated Press reported the correct figure Tuesday morning.  The AP story also included news of a change in the national wildfire preparedness level:

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Wildfires
3:07 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Should Policy Makers Limit Where Homes Are Built Along The Wildland Urban Interface?

Thank you signs dot a deserted downtown Ketchum as firefighters work the Beaver Creek Fire which started Aug. 7.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

At least 13 percent of Idaho's wildland urban interface (WUI) is developed. That's according to data gathered by Montana-based think tank Headwaters Economics. As wildfire season continues in the West, Stateline pulled together an interesting article about the increasing number of homes being built on the edge of forests and how that can complicate wildfire management.

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Fish
1:37 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Biologists To Poison Yellowstone Stream, Reintroduce Native Fish

The westslope cutthroat trout is a freshwater fish in the salmon family.
Credit USFWS Mountain Prairie / Flickr Creative Commons

Biologists are preparing to poison off all the fish in a stream in Yellowstone National Park ahead of an effort to restore native fish species to those waters.

Nonnative brown and rainbow trout have invaded and become established in Grayling Creek and its tributaries north of West Yellowstone, Mont.

This week, biologists plan to put small quantities of a toxin in the streams to kill off the nonnative trout. Treatments with the chemical Rotenone will continue for two to three years until all of the nonnative fish species are gone.

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Wildifires
7:54 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Beaver Creek Update: Fire Managers Believe The Blaze Is Now "Manageable"

The Idaho Statesman captured this image of a firefighter walking through a burned field near homes west of Hailey, Idaho, Aug. 17, 2013.
Credit Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Update, Aug. 19, 7:54 a.m.:  Officials in Blaine County say some homeowners evacuated because of the Beaver Creek Fire may be allowed to return home today.  But nothing has been announced this morning.  In the meantime, the sheriff is asking residents to be patient and not to try and return to their homes before evacuation ordered are lifted.

The Beaver Creek Fire is 8 percent contained - a slight decrease during the day Sunday.  It's burned 104,457 acres.  More than 1,100 people are in the Wood River Valley fighting the fire. 

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Wildfires
7:42 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Historic Idaho Town Under Mandatory Evacuations As Wildfire Nears

The Little Queens Fire is burning in Elmore County near the historic town of Atlanta.
Credit Courtesy of the Boise National Forest

Update: 10:04 p.m.:  The Little Queens Fire has now burned 7000 acres.  Officials say it's within four miles of Atlanta.  Fire managers say winds shifted late Sunday and pushed the fire towards the town.  There is no containment.  A Type Two incident command team will take over management of the fire Tuesday.  Sixty-two people have been assigned to work the fire.

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Wildfires
5:46 pm
Sat August 17, 2013

Photos From Idaho's Beaver Creek Fire

Beaver Creek fire.
Credit @jp2e / Twitter

The Beaver Creek Fire burning near the Idaho resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley has forced the evacuation of at least 2,250 area homes and an additional 7,500 are prepared to evacuate if necessary.

The lightning-caused fire started Aug. 7 and has rapidly grown to 92,700 acres, or 145-square miles.

Here are some photos and video captured by reporters and people who live in the Wood River Valley from Aug. 16-17.

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Wildfires
5:02 pm
Sat August 17, 2013

Southern Idaho Fire Roundup: Four Large Blazes Continue To Grow

A photographer takes pictures of the Beaver Creek Fire from a rooftop north of Hailey, Idaho, Aug. 16, 2013.
Credit Ashley Smith / Times-News

Four large fires continue to burn in Southern Idaho, including two of the nation's top priority wildfires.

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Wildfires
9:15 am
Sat August 17, 2013

Audio: From The Front Lines Of Idaho's Beaver Creek Fire

Helicopters and air tankers along with firefighters are being used to fight the Beaver Creek Fire.
Credit Ashley Smith / The Times-News

At least 1,500 Sun Valley-area homes are under mandatory evacuations Saturday morning. The Beaver Creek fire has jumped from 100-square-miles to about 140-square-miles. It continues to threaten the resort towns of Ketchum, Sun Valley, and Hailey.

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Wildfires
5:35 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Beaver Creek Update: 'Definite Possibility' That Fire Could Reach Sun Valley, Ketchum

Here's a look at the Beaver Creek fire's perimeter from InciWeb.org.
Credit Inciweb.org

Update, 9:05 p.m.: Highway 75 has been re-opened.  

Mandatory evacuations:

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Wildfires
5:30 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Residents In Pine, Featherville Will Be Able To Return To Homes

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter speaks with Elk Complex firefighters Friday.
Credit InciWeb

Residents who evacuated the towns of Pine and Featherville this week received some good news today: they will be able to return to their homes Sunday at 5 p.m.

People returning to their homes will need to provide proof of residency. The Elmore County sheriff's office says they will be checking proof of residency -- a power bill with your name and address on it -- before letting people back in their homes.

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Wildfires
3:40 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Update: 1,300 Homes Evacuated As Beaver Creek Fire Burns In Southern Idaho

The Beaver Creek fire has burned at least 100 square miles.
Credit Kimberlee Kruesi / Times-News

Click here for the latest information on the Beaver Creek Fire. 

Update, 9:05 p.m.: Highway 75 has been re-opened.  

Mandatory evacuations:

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Wildlife
9:59 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Two BLM Workers Bitten By Grizzly Bear In Eastern Idaho

This mama grizzly and her cub were photographed in Yellowstone National Park.
Credit Xinem / Flickr Creative Commons

A grizzly bear bit two Bureau of Land Management contract workers in remote country in eastern Idaho but fled after one of the men doused it with pepper spray.

The encounter Thursday happened west of the Island Park Reservoir, about 35 miles from the Wyoming-Montana border and Yellowstone National Park.

At least one of the men required stitches in wounds on his thigh and buttocks. The other man suffered minor bite wounds on his hand.

They were treated at a regional hospital and released.

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Wildfires
3:17 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Climate Researchers Use Western Wildfire Smoke To Study Cloud Formation

The Beaver Creek fire had burned more than 44,000 acres as of 2:00 pm on Aug. 15, 2013.
Credit Ashley Smith / Times-News

Researchers are flying over Western wildfires to sample the thick smoke they emit to study its role in cloud formation and climate.

The data-gathering campaign is intended to help researchers flesh out one of the least understood areas of climate: the role of aerosols, or particles given off by wildfires, and how they evolve over time.

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Wildfires
9:45 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Update: Beaver Creek Fire Prompts More Evacuations In Idaho's Blaine County

Advancement of the Beaver Creek Fire burning near Hailey and Ketchum has prompted structure protection. Some residents of Deer Creek have evacuated. More in that community and in the Greenhorn Gulch area could also be forced to leave.
Credit USFS/InciWeb

Update: Click here for the latest information on this fire. 

Update 6:53 p.m.:  The Beaver Creek Fire continues to grow and a fire information officer says "It's an evolving situation." Thursday night the Blaine County Sheriff ordered more evacuations, this time for Timber Gulch South to Zinc Spur. 

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Wildfires
8:30 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Update: Featherville Still Without Lights

Idaho Power linemen work to restore power after wildfires moved through the area.
Credit Idaho Power

UPDATE 9:40 a.m.: Idaho Power reports power was restored to the Lester Creek area and the Anderson Ranch Bluffs subdivision on Wednesday afternoon after the Elk Complex burned poles. Fall Creek and Pine should have power by Thursday evening, while the area north of Featherville is still too dangerous to access.

Areas near Mountain Home and Prairie got electricity back on Wednesday as well. The Pony Complex had destroyed 37 power poles in that area.

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Wildfires
9:46 pm
Wed August 14, 2013

Idaho's Elk Complex Fire Burns 38 Homes, Aerial Burnouts To Begin

Members of the Idaho City Hotshots tend a fire line created to keep the Elk Complex fire away from homes. Aug. 12, 2013.
Credit Ashley Smith / Times-News

New numbers from Elmore County show a total of 38 homes and 43 outbuildings have burned in the Elk Complex fire

Elmore County officials have said the majority of the structure loss came in the Fall Creek area when it burned quickly and with little notice over the weekend.  The assessment of the area wrapped up Wednesday. 

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Wildfires
11:17 am
Wed August 14, 2013

NASA Satellite Image Shows Idaho Wildfires In Stunning Context

This satellite image was captured by NASA's Aqua Satellite on Aug. 10, 2013.
Credit NASA

Southern Idaho's four large wildfires have burned 495 square miles since lightning hit the area six days ago. The entire city of Boise is 80 square miles. This satellite image shows smoke billowing from the four blazes burning in what appears to be a straight line across southern Idaho, just east of Boise.

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