Wildfires

Wildfires
10:50 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Idaho's Whiskey, Mack Fires Fully Contained

Mop up work on the fires will continue this week.
Credit Boise National Forest

Idaho's Whiskey Complex and Mack fires burning north of Boise are now fully contained. A Boise National Forest spokesman says mop up and monitoring of the fires will continue Monday.

The Whiskey Complex was a series of fires sparked by lightning on July 13. It has burned 9,446 acres south of Garden Valley on the Boise National Forest. Spokesman David Olson says isolated areas of smoke will still be visible this week as the fire smolders within its containment lines.

The Mack fire was one of 27 fires started by lightning last week. It burned 229 acres.

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Wildfires
5:24 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Feds Offer Wildfire Assistance, But So Far No Payments To Homeowners

Firefighters cut a line in the trees in order to contain the Carlton Complex fire.
Inciweb/National Wildfire Coordinating Group

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 4:09 pm

Federal funds are being used to help fight the wildfires that have raged across the Northwest this summer. But so far, the Federal Emergency Management Agency isn't handing out money directly to owners of the nearly 200 homes lost in the blazes.

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Wildfires
11:20 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Fire Managers Nearing Containment On Most Lightning-Caused Wildfires North Of Boise

Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This post was updated at 11:15 a.m. July 25, 2014.

Fire officials say they've nearly contained all 27 of Wednesday's lightning-caused wildfires on the Boise National Forest and state lands north of Boise.

The Mack Fire is still the largest, now estimated at 270 acres. It's now 10 percent contained.

This post was updated at 10:25 a.m. July 24, 2014.

A Boise National Forest spokesman says 14 of 27 lightning-caused fires burning on federal and state lands north of Boise are now contained.

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Wildfires
10:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

At More Than 9,000 Acres, The Whiskey Complex Fire Is 75 Percent Contained

A firefighter uses a drip torch along the South Fork Payette River Road.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This story was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 24, 2014. 

The Whiskey Complex Fire burning in the Boise National Forest is now 75 percent contained.

The fire is estimated at 9,446 acres. The Forest Service says 851 people are staffing the fire, which is expected to be fully contained by July 28.

The voluntary evacuation order for 60 homes along the South Fork Road has been lifted, while the closure of the South Fork Payette River Road is still in effect. Access to that road is only available to fire crews and residents.

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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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Wildfires
2:47 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Firebreak Along I-84 To Reduce Risk Of Roadside Wildfires

A look at I-84 at Simco Road.
Credit Google Maps

On average, nine fires spark each year along Interstate 84, burning more than 1,000 acres. Now, the Bureau of Land Management is partnering with various agencies to cut down on the risk of roadside wildfires.

Fire officials are building a firebreak along a 10-mile stretch of the highway to keep fire starts from trailer chains or hot mufflers to a minimum.

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Wildfires
4:37 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Washington Fire Leaves Thousands Without AC, Gas, ATMs

Okanogan County currently estimates 150 to 200 homes burned to the ground.

The Carlton Complex fire, the most destructive wildfire currently burning in the Northwest, has left thousands of people without air conditioning and refrigeration. It has closed gas stations and shut down ATMs in north-central Washington.

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Wildfires
3:56 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Washington Evacuees Have Dealt With Fires Before, But 'Not Like This'

File photo of a portion of the Mills Canyon Complex fire in Central Washington

A blaze in Okanogan County, Washington, that Governor Jay Inslee called a “firestorm” has destroyed around 100 homes. Now, Inslee says 1,000 National Guard troops will take a crash-course in wildfire fighting so they can be deployed to central Washington fires.

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Wildfires
10:20 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Blaine County's Preacher Fire Nears Containment

The Preacher Fire has burned 33,864 acres.
Credit Courtesy Bureau of Land Management

This story was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 18, 2014

The Preacher Fire, burning in Blaine County, is now 60 percent contained and fire managers expect full containment Friday night. 

The lightning-caused fire sparked July 14 and has since grown to nearly 34,000 acres.

The fire is burning in grass and brush. A red flag warning expected Friday means winds could pick up and humidity can drop, making a fire more likely to flare up.

This story was updated at 6:10 p.m. July 16, 2014

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Wildfires
9:59 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Dry Conditions, Hot Weather Make Fighting Idaho's Whiskey Complex Wildfire A Challenge

Firefighters work to clear brush on the Boise National Forest as smoke from the Whiskey Complex hangs in the air.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

Fire officials working to contain and control the Whiskey Complex wildfires burning near Garden Valley, Idaho say conditions on the ground are more like late August, not mid July. "This demonstrates how the very dry vegetation challenges the suppression efforts," spokesperson Dave Olson writes.

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Health
12:36 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

As Boise Is Surrounded By Wildfires, Smoke Could Be Here For Weeks

The foothills were barely visible from southeast Boise Thursday morning.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Smoke is settling in the Treasure Valley from wildfires burning in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Canada. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is forecasting moderate to unhealthy air conditions for the next couple of days. 

"We’ll see higher levels in the early morning hours and before lunch," says DEQ's Michael Toole, "and hopefully if that pattern continues, we’ll see clearing in the afternoons which will give us some relief."

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Wildfires
9:50 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Update: Idaho's Whiskey Complex Wildfire Closes Sections Of Boise County

The Whiskey Complex wildfire burning near Garden Valley is now 4,500 acres.
Credit Photo Courtesy Boise National Forest

This story was updated at 9:41 a.m. July 17, 2014

The Whiskey Complex wildfire burning in Boise County has grown to 4,500 acres and could expand today because of forecast westerly winds.

The Boise National Forest reports hot temperatures and dry fuels have been a challenge for firefighters working to contain the Complex. It's estimated at 3 percent contained.

Voluntary evacuations are still in place for residents in Pioneerville and those along the South Fork Payette River road.

Here's an update from the Boise National Forest:

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Wildfires
2:35 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

How Wildland Firefighters Deal With Triple-Digit Heat

A portable, temporary air monitor was placed on the roof of the high school in Entiat and has been collecting samples since Thursday. Note the ground-hugging wildfire smoke in background.
Credit Courtesy of Chelan County Emergency Management

Fire crews across the Northwest are dealing with sizzling hot temperatures not just from flames, but also a general heat wave.

You can't wear shorts and a T-shirt to a firefight. So how do you stay cool and functional on the fire line when the thermometer is pushing triple digits? U.S. Forest Service spokesman Joe Anderson says "the main thing is to stay hydrated" and pace yourself.

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Wildfires
3:56 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Hot Weather Complicates Fire Fighting Efforts

A view of the Mills Canyon fire, north of Wenatchee, Washington.

Triple-digit temperatures are expected to complicate the effort to battle The Mills Canyon fire in central Washington.  

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Research
9:03 am
Thu July 10, 2014

It Takes 100 Years For Forests To Recover From Wildfire, Study Finds That's Fast

Odessa Lake and subalpine forest in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, USA.
Credit Philip Higuera / University of Idaho

Fire season has come alive in the Northwest. On Monday, 20 homes in Idaho's Sun Valley area were briefly under evacuation when a fire broke out in a nearby canyon. A 5,000-acre fire north of Wenatchee, Washington, continues to threaten houses in the area.

Fires can be devastating to people's lives. But according to new research, at least certain types of forests recovery fairly quickly.

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Wildfires
5:54 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Start A Wildfire? Expect A Bill

File photo of 2013's Little Queens Fire near the town of Atlanta, Idaho.

Whether it’s due to negligence or arson, thousands of wildfires each year are caused by humans. And the person or business who starts a fire can expect a bill.

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Wildfires
12:51 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Sheriff: Teen Sparked Central Idaho Wildfire With Fireworks

Firefighters look for hotspots after the Beaver Creek Fire burned through land near Hailey, Idaho in 2013.
Credit USDA / Flickr Creative Commons

Blaine County Sheriff officials say a central Idaho wildfire that caused 20 homes to be evacuated was started by an 18-year-old man lighting fireworks on private property.

The sheriff's office says no charges have been filed but an investigation is ongoing. The office has not yet released the man's name.

Officials say the teenager confessed to causing the 728-acre Colorado Gulch Fire —which started last Sunday— after investigators found fireworks where the blaze first sparked.

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Wildfires
9:06 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Evacuation Orders Lifted For Hailey Homeowners

This is a screengrab of the Colorado Gulch Fire from a time-lapse video captured by Backcountry Image Productions.
Credit Andrew Kane / Backcountry Image Productions

This story was updated at 4:26 p.m.

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office has lifted all mandatory evacuation orders for residents near Hailey impacted by the Colorado Gulch Fire.

The sheriff's website says some roads and bridges are still closed, but residents can return.

This story was updated at 4:15 p.m.

Authorities have expanded mandatory evacuation orders as a growing wildfire nears the community of Hailey.

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Wildfire
5:29 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Report Says Lack Of Maps, Leadership Puts Firefighters In Harm's Way

File photo of fire crews working the Trinity Ridge Fire near Featherville, Idaho, in 2012.

A scathing new report by a group of veteran wildfire experts called Safety Matters says too little has been done to improve firefighter safety since an Arizona fire killed 19 firefighters a year ago. 

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Around the Nation
1:28 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Dad Of Fallen Arizona Hotshot Hopes To Make Better Fire Shelters

This aerial photo shows Yarnell, Ariz., days after a fire claimed the lives of 19 members of an elite firefighting crew.
Tom Tingle AP

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 11:32 am

Firefighter Travis Turbyfill was killed one year ago by a wildfire after he and fellow members of the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots deployed to a fire shelter in an Arizona box canyon. A fierce wind blew the Yarnell Hill Fire over the crew, killing 19.

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