Wildfire

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

You may see some large patches of blue in the Boise Foothills, starting this week. It’s part of a program stop wildfires in the iconic trail system.

The blue dye is an herbicide that crews will apply to manage non-native grasses and problem weeds. Those are the plants that compete with native species and increase the risk of fire.

Washington DNR

A proposed fuel break system in southwest Idaho, southeast Oregon and northern Nevada will limit the size of destructive rangeland wildfires and protect habitat for sage grouse, say officials with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The agency on Tuesday released a plan called the Tri-State Fuel Break Project, which would create gaps in combustible vegetation along existing roads on public lands in the three states by reducing fuel next to the roads, using either machines or chemical treatments, and maintained with a long-term schedule.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

A new report says nearly 600,000 homes in Idaho are at some risk of wildfire. The data released Wednesday by real estate data firm CoreLogic shows Idaho ranks 11th in the number of at-risk homes out of the 13 Western states examined.

InciWeb

A new University of Idaho study says human-caused climate change is the reason more of the forest is burning each year in the West.

Researchers at U of I and Columbia University found that, because of climate change, the amount of land burned in Western forest fires has nearly doubled in the last 30 years.

National Weather Service

With rain in the forecast, the National Weather Service in Boise is warning of the possibility of flash flooding and mudslides in the 294 square miles burned by the Pioneer Fire.

A low pressure system could bring up to a half inch of rain Thursday to parts of the Boise National Forest that were burned by the Pioneer Fire. While that could slow the still-burning blaze down, it could also bring flash flooding.

Inciweb

The Wildland Fire Leadership Council is meeting for the first time in Boise. The national committee was created in 2002, and includes officials from different national and state firefighting agencies. They meet regularly, often not leaving Washington D.C.

Wednesday, the group is getting a chance to see the effects of wildfire in the Great Basin firsthand.

Boise National Forest

The Pioneer Fire grew dramatically this week, shooting its way through the Boise National Forest. In just two days, it burned more than 70 square miles. So far it has burned 281 square miles.

Despite more than 1,000 people working the fire, it's only 52 percent contained. And officials say it won't be under control until a major rain or snow event, probably sometime in October.

Why is it burning so fast? And so much? And why can't firefighters surround it? This video, from the Boise National Forest, gives a pretty good snapshot of what crews are facing on this megafire:

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

KBSX reporter Frankie Barnhill visited base camp at the Pioneer Fire on Aug. 27 to profile Type 1 Incident Commander Beth Lund. Adam Cotterell asks her about the experience, including what's up with the women's only porta potties, what to eat at fire camp, and how to earn "trail cred" in wildland firefighting.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Beth Lund starts her day long before most people are done dreaming.

At 5 a.m., she’s out of her tent – coffee in hand – getting ready for a 6:00 a.m. briefing with her team at fire camp in Idaho City. Over the hum of generators, Lund takes the microphone on a wooden platform and addresses about 50 firefighters.

“Well, good morning," Lund says. "I see the group out here’s dwindling a little bit. So I think that’s a sign that some of this stuff on the southern end is getting wrapped up.”

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.

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