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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.