U.S. Forest Service

Wildfires
1:50 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Bigger, Faster Air Tankers Help Forest Service Tackle Wildfires

A DC-10 firefighting aircraft drops fire retardant in northern California in 2008. As the Forest Service expands and modernizes its fleet of air tankers, it has recently added several DC-10s.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 9:47 am

In the battle against wildfires, the Forest Service often draws on a fleet of air tankers — planes that drop fire retardant from the sky.

But the fleet shrank dramatically in the early 2000s, and by 2012, the Forest Service was woefully low on planes. Now, the agency is quickly increasing the number of planes at its disposal — and modernizing the fleet in the process by adding bigger, faster and more efficient planes.

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Wildfires
4:09 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Fire Managers: Keep Drones Away From Wildfires

Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Those who oversee the government’s aerial firefighting operations are asking the public to keep drones away from wildfires. Officials at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise say there have been three instances this year in which drones interfered with aerial firefighting.

One of the incidents occurred in early June over the Two Bulls Fire in Oregon. Another was on the Carlton Complex Fire in north central Washington in July. And officials say the third - in northern California - recently forced firefighters to shut down their aerial attack for a period of time.

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Wildfire Funding
9:11 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Ag Secretary: Wildfire Funding Almost Gone (Again)

Credit Boise National Forest

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the U.S. Forest Service will soon have to tap into programs designed to prevent wildfires so that it can meet the expenses of fighting blazes this summer.

Vilsack says about $400 million to $500 million in forestry projects will have to be put on hold in what has become a routine exercise.

He predicted that the money set aside strictly for firefighting will run out by the end of August.

Some 30 large fires are working their way through federal and state forests in California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

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Recreation
11:59 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Forest Service Expands Ban Of Exploding Targets

The U.S. Forest Service has banned exploding targets in southern Idaho, southwestern Wyoming, Nevada, Utah and a small portion of eastern California because of wildfire and public safety concerns.

Intermountain Region Forester Nora Rasure issued the ban that started Wednesday and runs through July 22, 2015, on national forest lands.

Some target shooters use exploding targets because they contain chemicals that mix when struck by a bullet and create a loud bang and big puff of smoke.

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Wilderness
6:00 am
Fri July 11, 2014

50th Anniversary Of The Wilderness Act Sparks Conversation, Idaho Lecture Series

The Sawtooth Wilderness is a rugged landscape in Central Idaho.
Credit 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.

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Environment
9:57 am
Wed June 25, 2014

Scientists Ask Obama To Protect Old Growth Forest

Credit Jeff Myers / Flickr

More than 75 scientists are appealing to President Barack Obama to create a policy for preserving old-growth forest.

The U.S. and Canadian scientists sent a letter to the president Wednesday urging the U.S. Forest Service to draw up plans to conserve ecosystems distinguished by old trees, accumulations of dead woody material and diversity of plant life. Most are found in the Pacific Northwest or Southeast Alaska.

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Wildfires
10:21 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Central Idaho Wildfire Is Contained At 80 Acres

This post was updated at 2:05 p.m. on June 6.

Firefighters in central Idaho have contained an 80-acre wildfire burning about 10 miles south of Stanley and expect to have it controlled on Sunday.

Gold Fire spokeswoman Julie Thomas says crews succeeded in getting a line around the fire Friday morning despite flames moving into downed lodgepole pine.

She says three hotshot crews along with six engines and two water tenders are working within the perimeter of the fire to make sure it's out.

U.S. Forest Service Road 210 remains closed.

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Wildfires
1:49 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Exploding Targets Banned in Idaho, Mont., Dakotas

The U.S. Forest Service has banned exploding targets in northern Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and portions of South Dakota due to wildfire and public safety concerns.

Northern Region Forester Faye Krueger announced Tuesday the regional closure that immediately prohibits exploding targets on national forest lands.

Some target shooters use the exploding targets because they contain chemical components that mix when struck by a bullet and create a fireball.

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Environment
11:52 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Forest Service Closes 170 Square Mile Area Burned In Central Idaho Wildfire

The Beaver Creek Fire burned in the Wood River Valley in 2013.
Credit Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The U.S. Forest Service says most of the area within a 170-square-mile wildfire that burned in central Idaho last summer will remain closed this year due to safety concerns.

The agency announced Monday that areas that burned in the Beaver Creek Fire near the resort area of Ketchum have been severely eroded.

The order closing the area applies to all human use, including mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, motorcycling and mushroom gathering.

The agency says the highest concerns include eroded trails and roads, and damaged bridges and culverts.

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Idaho News
9:18 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Idaho Sues Timber Company Over Wildfire That Killed A Firefighter

Credit U.S. Forest Service

Idaho officials have filed a lawsuit against a timber company and its contractor contending they're responsible for a wildfire that killed a 20-year-old Forest Service firefighter and burned more than 300 acres in northern Idaho.

The Lewiston Tribune reports the state filed the lawsuit Monday in 2nd District Court seeking an unspecified amount in monetary damages for costs in fighting the fire.

Anne Veseth of Moscow died Aug. 12, 2012, after being struck and killed by a falling tree while fighting the Steep Corner Fire near Orofino.

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Grazing
10:57 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Federal Judge Upholds Bighorn Protection Plan

Credit Travis S. / Flickr

A federal judge has ruled that a U.S. Forest Service plan to reduce domestic sheep grazing on the Payette National Forest by about 70 percent to protect bighorn sheep from diseases will remain in place.

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge A. Wallace Tashima, sitting by designation for the District of Idaho, made the ruling on Tuesday.

Sheep ranchers in Idaho and other states in 2012 sued the Forest Service over the bighorn sheep protection plan announced in 2010.

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Public Lands
1:05 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Recreators And Environmentalists Reach Boulder-White Clouds Deal

The proposed national monument is 500,000 roadless acres.
Credit TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

Environmentalists and mountain bikers have reached agreement on a proposal for protecting the Boulder-White Clouds as a national monument.

The Idaho Statesman reported Tuesday that the agreement creates zones to maintain wilderness characteristics in some areas, while continuing mountain bike access to the popular area north of Sun Valley.

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Environment
8:37 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

Risk Of Falling Trees Shutters Northwest Camping Areas

U.S. Forest Service

Forest managers in north Idaho and western Washington will be closing some popular camping areas this year. They say nearby trees are infected with root rot and post a threat to campers.

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Wildfires
11:44 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Sen. Crapo Says Changing Wildfire Fighting Budget Formula Is ‘Critical’ Issue

The costs of fighting wildfires in the U.S. often exceed allotted budgets. Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) says the federal government needs to overhaul its funding system.
Credit Boise National Forest

Republican Sen. Mike Crapo says he expects wildfire funding legislation he introduced just before Christmas to get bipartisan support in Washington.

Crapo and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, introduced the legislation on December 19. If approved, it would bolster funding for the U.S. Forest Service.

At issue is the agency’s firefighting budget, which is regularly exhausted before a wildfire season ends. Funds from other parts of the agency’s budget are then used to cover additional costs. That money often comes from fire prevention budgets, which can make future fires worse.

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Wolves
1:59 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Update: Idaho Wolf Derby Gets Green Light For This Weekend

Credit Washington Fish and Game

Update 2:11 p.m.:

A federal judge allowed a wolf derby to proceed on public land in Idaho, ruling its organizers aren't required to get a special permit from the U.S. Forest Service.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale issued the ruling Friday, hours after a morning hearing.

WildEarth Guardians and other environmental groups had sought to stop the derby, arguing the Forest Service was ignoring its own rules that require permits for competitive events.

The Forest Service, meanwhile, countered no permit was needed.

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Federal Land
9:52 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Two Idaho Counties Challenge Forest Travel Plan

The Clearwater Forest covers 1.8 million acres in northern Idaho.
Credit U.S. Forest Service, Northern Region / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal lawsuit filed by two Idaho counties is challenging the legality of a national forest travel plan that closed off about 200 miles of trails to motorized vehicles.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by Idaho and Clearwater counties against the Clearwater National Forest.

The counties contend the forest failed to adequately coordinate with local leaders while drafting the plan and didn't consider the economic impact it could have on local communities.

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Land
9:59 am
Mon December 2, 2013

North Idaho Officials Oppose Wilderness Plan

The Kootenai National Forest.
Credit U.S. Forest Service, Northern Region / Flickr Creative Commons

Bonner County commissioners in northern Idaho are urging the U.S. Forest Service not to designate any more lands as potential federally protected wilderness in the Kootenai and Panhandle national forests.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports in a story on Sunday that commissioners say there are other ways for pristine areas to be preserved.

Commissioner Mike Nielsen says Scotchman Peak needs to be protected but that wilderness protection would isolate adjacent areas where trails are groomed for snowmobile riders.

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Wildfires
10:04 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Shutdown Spoils Chance For Wildfire Rehab In Idaho

Federal workers are getting back to work stabilizing the soil on the Beaver Creek Fire burn scar. But the 16-day government shutdown set these efforts back.
Credit Mel Meier / InciWeb

Federal officials say they lost a prime opportunity to rehabilitate and reseed areas burned over the summer by wildfires because of the partial government shutdown.

Workers for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management returned to work Thursday after a 16-day lay-off.

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Lands
10:41 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Report: Feds Spent $392M To Manage Idaho's Public Land

Idaho's Sawtooth National Forest is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
Credit The Knowles Gallery / Flickr Creative Commons

Three federal agencies spent $392 million in 2012 to manage 32 million acres of Idaho public land, according to a report illustrating costs Idaho would face by assuming oversight of a substantial swath of the territory.

The Idaho Statesman reports the report was requested by U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson from the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

State lawmakers are discussing a proposal to take over 16.4 million acres of federal land.

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Shutdown
3:54 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Government Shutdown Stops Forest Service Timber Sales

Credit D-Stanley / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Forest Service is shutting down timber sales on national forests across the country due to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said Friday he was informed of the move by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

Forest Service spokesman Leo Kay confirmed the action in an email but said details were not immediately available.

It was not clear, for example, whether loggers could cut and haul off trees under contracts that have already been awarded, or whether the action affects just sales that have yet to be awarded.

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