Wildfire

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Last year’s massive Soda Fire burned more than 400 square miles of rangeland in southwest Idaho and eastern Oregon. That includes the food source for the area's three wild horse herds.

inciweb.gov

Three U.S. Senators were in Boise Monday to restate their support of legislation that would overhaul the way the nation pays for its biggest wildfires.

Senators Mike Crapo, R-ID, Jim Risch, R-ID, and Ron Wyden, D-OR, visited the National Interagency Fire Center for the third time in support of the proposal. 

National Interagency Fire Center/Facebook

When fire activity goes up, MAFFS (Modular Airborne Firefighting Systems) go into action. Right now, two DoD C-130 planes, equipped with this unique fire suppression system, are flying out of Boise.

The planes were called up by the National Interagency Fire Center. You may have seen the giant planes launching over Boise or video from an air drop over a wildfire. We found video of another side of MAFFS: Cleaning out the pipes before bringing on another load of retardant.

Mike McMillan / inciweb.gov

Update Monday at 8:02 a.m.: An evacuation notice for  the town of Lowman that was downgraded yesterday has been raised back up.

The Boise County Sheriff yesterday evening re-implemented a level two evacuation for Lowman after having lowered it to a level one one earlier in the day. Level two is still a voluntary evacuation. The heightened alert comes after winds pushed the Pioneer fire further north.

InciWeb

As hot and dry summer weather continues, land officials hope expanded Stage 1 fire restrictions will keep new human-caused wildfires to a minimum. Parts of Twins Falls, Blaine, Camas and Cassia counties will be affected. Campfires must be within designated campground or other recreation sites, and outdoor smoking will also be limited.

 

inciweb.gov

The Pioneer fire. a southwest Idaho wildfire burning timber in rugged terrain, on Thursday crossed a state highway fire officials had hoped to use as a firebreak.

Officials say the 20-square-mile blaze burning west to east crossed State Highway 21 about 5 miles south of Lowman.

About 23 miles of the highway are closed from north of Idaho City to south of Lowman.

Fire spokeswoman Susan Blake says ground crews and engines are responding to the area east of the highway where the fire crossed.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

A brush fire near a housing development in Eagle was attacked quickly by firefighters earlier this week. They were able to battle the spark in part because of fire preventive measures taken by the developers who built the Avimor neighborhood.

Attempts by 900 firefighters backed by aircraft to halt the spread of a wildfire burning in rugged terrain in southwest Idaho have been unsuccessful with the blaze doubling to 14 square miles in size on Wednesday.

Officials say they've expanded a closure in the Boise National Forest and also started contingency plans to use State Highway 21 as a firebreak.

About 23 miles of the highway are closed from north of Idaho City to south of Lowman as firefighters remove trees and brush to reduce the potential for the fire to cross the road.

inciweb.gov

Officials closed a portion of State Highway 21 in both directions in southwest Idaho on Tuesday due to a 7-square-mile wildfire burning trees, brush and grass in rugged terrain.

Fire managers gave no timeline for when the highway might reopen as some 850 firefighters backed by aircraft work on fire lines to contain the blaze that started July 18.

The highway is closed from east of Idaho City to north of Lowman as firefighters prep the area for defensive operations.

Andrew Xu / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal authorities say they've launched the first national system intended to prevent hobby drones from interfering with planes and helicopters fighting wildfires.

The U.S. Interior Department announced the kickoff of the pilot project Monday. It uses smartphone apps already on the market to quickly alert drone fliers to temporary flight restrictions over wildfires.

Ada County Sheriff's Office / Facebook

Update, Thursday at 5:21 p.m.: Fire crews have reached 80 percent containment on the Mile Marker 14 fire.

Update, Thursday at 10:38 a.m.: The latest tweet from BLM Idaho shows progress is being made in containing the fire: 

Boise Fire Department / Twitter

Wildlife habitat managers say it’s essential that the area burned by the Table Rock fire in the Boise foothills be restored to prevent invasive species from taking over. The City of Boise already has $100,000 from the Zoo Boise conservation fund for habitat rehabilitation in the burn scar. But the city has very little expertise rehabbing land.

Krista Muller / Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Last week’s Table Rock fire burned about 2,500 acres in Boise’s foothills. Although the fire only destroyed one human home, animals that live there will likely go elsewhere until the landscape can be restored.

Idaho Fish and Game wildlife biologist Krista Muller says Table Rock will not bounce back in just a couple of years.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The Ada County Sheriff says in less than 24 hours over the Fourth of July holiday, his dispatch office received 235 fireworks complaints and 33 reports of grass fires.

Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan says at least 12 fires in Boise were likely caused by fireworks over the Monday holiday. And the Table Rock Fire in the Boise Foothills last week, which burned a home, was caused by illegal fireworks. The Nampa Fire Marshal says illegal fireworks likely burned down a home Tuesday morning.

Scott Graf, Boise State Public Radio

Final update: Crews reached full containment on the Table Rock Fire at 9 o'clock Thursday evening. Boise Fire officials say crews will monitor the fire through at least Friday to maintain containment. 

Update, 5:35 p.m.: Fire crews continued to make progress on the Table Rock Friday Thursday afternoon. Boise Fire Department officials said just before 5:30 that the fire is now 85 percent contained and that full containment is expected by 10 p.m.

Phil Morrisey / National Resources Conservation Service

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) relies on data from mountain measuring tools known as SNOTEL sites to forecast how much water Idaho will have each year. This information helps farmers determine which crops to grow (a drier year means they may choose less water-intensive crops) and gives water managers data to plan for flood control. Recreationists use the data to figure out the wildest rivers to ride in the summer.

A wildfire burning in grass and sagebrush has scorched about 180 acres in southwest Idaho but is expected to be controlled Monday afternoon.

Fire spokesman Rob Hansen of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management says crews responded just before 1 p.m. Sunday to a fire about 15 miles southeast of Murphy.

He says a small air tanker, four engines and two bulldozers participated in getting the fire contained by 10 p.m. Sunday.

Hansen says the fire had the potential to burn a wide area, but quick response by the Grand View Fire Department and then BLM crews helped contain it.

Washington Department of Natural Resources

For the first time, U.S. officials have sent firefighters to help battle a giant blaze in Canada that has destroyed parts of Fort McMurray in Alberta.

The National Interagency Fire Center says 100 firefighters flew out of in Boise, Idaho, on Wednesday morning and another 100 left from Missoula, Montana.

Officials say the firefighters are from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service.

Jerry Mathes

A writer from Idaho has won a North American Book Award. Author Jerry Mathes won the best memoir award for his book “Ahead of the Flaming Front: A Life on Fire.”

It's been almost two months since the Obama administration decided not to list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Just a few days later, Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter filed a lawsuit challenging the BLM and Forest Service for the changes in land-use regulations that came with the ESA decision.