The U.S. Forest Service says the death of a 20-year-old firefighter in Idaho last summer was a “chance” occurrence. The new report is in sharp contrast to the findings of federal workplace safety investigators.
A new report says climate change will be a growing factor in the way America's forests are managed. The research is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It predicts the number of acres burned in a typical fire season could double in the next quarter century.
To find out more, we spoke with the Forest Service’s Climate Change Advisor, Dave Cleaves. He says weather is changing and forest managers must adapt.
Several fires are burning around the state. Here is a roundup of the five largest wildfires right now.
The Flat Top 2 Fire: Easily the biggest fire burning in Idaho right now. Flat Top has consumed 135,000 acres of grass and brush. It's burning ten miles north of Kimama, northeast of Twin Falls. The fire was sparked by lightning on August 5. Eighty-nine firefighters are on the blaze , which is 40 percent contained.
The Forest Service purchased 80 acres of private land last month along the Salmon River, in an effort to protect wilderness.
The Trust for Public Lands, a national nonprofit organization, helped the Forest Service acquire that land last month.
Northern Rockies Director for the Trust Deb Love says it’s important to buy up private land and protect it as wilderness. She says doing so helps the Forest Service manage the land without worrying about pockets of private property.
About 300 firefighters have been working to put out Idaho’s largest wildfire burning in the state’s south central desert lands. Twelve aircraft and more than 30 pieces of ground equipment have been used on this blaze. All of these efforts to stop a fire cost millions of dollars.
At the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, big monitors in command central show… cable news, and phones ring sporadically. But a few weeks ago when destructive fires burned in Colorado and around the west, this room was controlled pandemonium as people marshaled firefighting efforts.
As wildfires continue to burn here in the West, the US Forest Service is going to battle this summer with fewer air tankers. The number of planes that drop retardant on fires has shrunk significantly over the last 12 years.
On a sunny, warm morning at the Boise airport. A shiny white and green plane slowly pulls onto the red retardant-stained tarmac. Pilot Lyle Ehalt is returning from a drop over a grass fire near Murphy.
The Forest Service has received funding to buy a few privately owned parcels of land in the northwest.
The money for the land buys comes from a federal conservation fund, that gets a tiny percent of the royalties from offshore oil drilling.
Debbie Okholm is with the Forest Service. She says more than 15 percent of the land inside national forest boundaries in the northwest is actually owned by other people. So the forest service focuses on acquiring that land.