U.S. Forest Service

Logging Leftovers Could Keep Invasive Species Out

Mar 18, 2013
USDA

A new study from the research arm of the Forest Service suggests that leaving behind broken branches and the tips of treetops after logging can help fight invasive species.

Scientists suspected that fir boughs and other logging leftovers could act like gardener’s mulch and protect the soil.

Hundreds of sawmill representatives gathered in Portland Monday for a trade association meeting. Thanks to a recovering housing market, the U.S. demand for lumber is increasing.

U.S. Forest Service

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.  

Brad Washa / Boise National Forest

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.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Idaho leaders are hailing Monday’s decision by a federal appeals court to uphold the state's strategy for managing millions of acres of roadless wilderness. 

Idaho’s roadless rule provides the framework for use and protection of more than 9 million acres of backcountry land owned by the public.

The Idaho plan was adopted in 2006 and approved by the Bush administration. In other states, federal public land is subject to a more restrictive Clinton-era roadless rule.

Judge Halts Logging on Oregon State Forests

Nov 28, 2012
jpc.raleigh / Flickr

A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction halting 11 timber sales in Oregon’s state forests. The state is being sued by three conservation groups who say the logging projects imperil a federally protected seabird.

US District Judge Ann Aiken granted the injunction Monday. It halts 11 timber sales in the Tillamook, Clatsop and Elliott State Forests that are home to the threatened Marbled Murrelet.

Jim Larson / Flickr

The fight against numerous large fires in central Washington is turning the corner. Since the weekend, fire bosses have been able to release nearly 400 firefighters from the blazes near Wenatchee.

But forecasters say it may be a while before the Inland Northwest sees clear, blue skies again.

U.S. Forest Service researcher Miriam Rorig  says smoke projections show poor conditions east of the Cascades hanging on through the week and spreading into north Idaho.

Firefighting Still Dangerous, But For Different Reasons

Aug 14, 2012
Courtesy of Veseth’s family via U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service has identified a firefighter killed in Idaho on Sunday as 20-year-old Anne Veseth of Moscow, Idaho. She was struck by a falling tree at the Steep Corner Fire southeast of Coeur d’Alene.  Firefighting deaths fluctuate from year to year, but the biggest source of that danger has shifted.

Boise National Forest

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.

More Of Idaho's Land Goes Wild

Jul 17, 2012
Deb Love / Trust for Public Lands

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.  

US Facing Air Tanker Shortage

Jul 6, 2012

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.

Boise District Bureau of Land Management

Updated 5:15 PM:  There have been 31 area wildfires so far this year, according to spokeswoman Mallory Eils with the Boise District Bureau of Land Management.  That compares to less than a handful at this time for the past three years. She says nearly all the wildfires this year have been caused by people.    

There are no plans to place fire restrictions on public lands yet.  That would take some time given that state and federal agencies such as the BLM, U.S. Forest Service, and Idaho Department of Lands would all have to agree to those restrictions. 

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.

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