U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service has notified a conservation group that Idaho officials will not use a hired hunter to kill wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness this winter.

Earthjustice in a statement says it received the notification Wednesday from the federal agency as required by the settlement of a federal lawsuit.

The letter from Forest Service officials to Earthjustice says the Idaho Department of Fish and Game notified the federal agency of its decision on Friday.

Forest History Society / Flickr

State officials have given their OK to modify a northern Idaho timber sale to include helicopter logging that will cost the state up to $1.5 million in lost revenue.

The Idaho Land Board voted 4-0 on Tuesday following a federal court ruling earlier this month that put the Selway Fire Salvage timber sale on hold by temporarily banning the use of a contested U.S. Forest Service road.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter says it's disappointing but the Land Board had little choice.

Marsha Davies

Volunteers are scheduled to break ground Saturday on the rebuilding of the Big Creek Lodge in the Payette National Forest.

For 75 years, Big Creek Lodge was the vacation spot for hundreds of pilots, campers, and firefighters, looking for adventure in the remote Payette National Forest. But seven years ago, the lodge burned to the ground.

Now, the Forest Service and a non-profit group are working to rebuild.

Rick Payette / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has halted a salvage logging project on state land in northern Idaho by temporarily banning the use of a contested U.S. Forest Service road on private property.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in an 8-page decision released late Friday granted a temporary restraining order requested by the property owners and an environmental group.

Morgan and Olga Wright and Idaho Rivers United say the federal agency incorrectly approved the use of the road without issuing a special use permit.

Flickr Creative Commons, BLM/IFG

 Elko County's legal bills have exceeded $250,000 with no end in sight in a 16-year-old court battle with environmentalists and the U.S. government over control of a remote Forest Service road near the Nevada-Idaho state line.

Assistant District Attorney Kristen McQueary doesn't expect a judge to rule before the end of the year on conservationists' latest attempt to throw out a settlement agreement between the county and the Forest Service.

United States Forest Service, Mike McMillan / Flickr Creative Commons

A recent report published by the U.S. Forest Service shows that in 1995, 17 percent of the agency's budget went to fighting wildfires. By 2014, those efforts took up 51 percent of the agency's funding.

U.S. Forest Service

State and federal land managers are preparing to burn up to 30,977 acres across southwest Idaho to reduce excessive trees and brush that could contribute to larger wildfires later this year.

The U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Idaho Department of Lands are coordinating to manage the intentional fires.

forest, trees, snow
U.S. Forest Service, Northern Region / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Forest Service has decided not to spend $10 million on a five-year nationwide public relations campaign to brand itself as a public agency that cares about people and nature.

The agency was planning on the campaign at a time when it's struggling to pay for fighting wildfires, maintaining trails and offering timber for sale.

The Forest Service issued a statement Tuesday, saying it had not accepted any contract bids and would look for other ways to enhance the public's access to national forests and understanding about what the agency does.

snow, tree, weather
Jim Bauer / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Forest Service's new supervisor for the 4-million-acre Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in northern Idaho says the agency might offer more trees for sale.

Cheryl Probert says the Johnson Bar salvage and others projects related to the 9-square-mile fire last summer could increase timber harvest.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Probert met on Monday with Clearwater County commissioners, who want more timber harvested.

U.S. Forest Service

 A slow wildfire season in the U.S. means the Forest Service won’t have to dip into other parts of its budget to cover firefighting expenses. The federal government’s fiscal year ends Tuesday. It’s the first time in three years the agency’s firefighting allotment will cover actual costs.

The Forest Service exceeded its firefighting budget by $505 million last summer, and $440 million the year before.

forest, cameras, media
Linda Tanner / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal agency under fire from free speech advocates and nature enthusiasts says it has absolutely no intention of charging people to take pictures on public land. The head of the U.S. Forest Service Thursday clarified a rule that’s been generating charges of government overreach.

“There's no way that our proposal will infringe on anyone's First Amendment rights,” says Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell. 

Miguel Vieira / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Public Television plans to fight the U.S Forest Service over a proposal that would require its camera crews to ask government permission before filming on public land.

The Forest Service first introduced the rule four years ago as a means of protecting public lands from commercial interests.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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