Wildfires

Wildfire,
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Firestorms are a particularly terrifying – and largely unknown – phenomenon. The naturally occurring events happen during megafires, when a wildfire burns so hot and so fiercely that surrounding air is drawn in, creating powerful winds that remove moisture from nearby fuel – increasing the already extreme fire risk.

Keith Ridler / AP Images

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell will make a visit to Idaho Tuesday. The Obama Administration official is on a final tour highlighting environmental initiatives taken on by her department since 2013.

 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The day before his new exhibit opening in downtown Boise, Giuseppe Licari takes a break from building his installation. Licari sits in the courtyard behind Ming Studios sipping an espresso as he takes a puff of his cigarette. As it turns out, the Sicilian-born artist is kind of obsessed with smoke – and what it means for a landscape. 

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.”

Inciweb

It’s not clear yet what started the Cherry Road Fire Sunday afternoon. But what is clear is that dry brush and grass have fueled the flames, making for quickly changing conditions between Sunday and Monday.  

The fire is near the Idaho border, and has blown smoke into the Treasure Valley. A Type 2 firefighting team is now working to get control of the fire, which is threatening the popular Succor Creek State Park. 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Think of it as a giant bubble filled with wildfire smoke.

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. 

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

Ada County commissioners have dashed one man's hopes of having his own airstrip in the city's foothills.

The Idaho Statesman reports the commissioners voted 2-1 on Wednesday to overturn a Planning and Zoning decision that would have allowed Dean Hilde to build the 1,200-foot landing strip on about 150 acres as well as a 3,600-square-foot hangar and shop.

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.

 

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.

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

Update, Thursday, 10:12 a.m.:  The Ada County Commissioners have tabled the issue after hearing three hours of public testimony. According to a press release, 16 people testified in favor of the airstrip and 15 testified against it Wednesday night.

Original post:

IIP Photo Archive / Flickr Creative Commons

Update, 7:25 p.m.: A federal firefighter injured in a fire-truck crash that killed two other crew members on a remote highway in Nevada is expected to survive.

The Nevada Highway Patrol says tire failure may have caused the truck to crash Sunday while the three were returning to Winnemucca from a search for lightning-sparked wildfires near the Oregon line.

Trooper Jim Stewart says both victims were from Winnemucca. He identified them as Jacob Omalley, the 27-year-old driver, and Will Hawkins, a 22-year-old passenger.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Most trails on Table Rock and in other areas burned by last week's big fire re-opened early this week. But biologists who will help oversee the area's restoration are concerned that off-trail use in the area could complicate those rehabilitation efforts.

Penn State / Flickr Creative Commons

State and federal officials say Idaho faces an increased potential for rangeland wildfires in the south, but forested areas in the north are in better shape at this point than last year.

Wildland fire analyst Jeremy Sullens of the National Interagency Fire Center told the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday that a good snowpack has put more moisture in northern Idaho forests to delay the fire season.

But he says additional moisture in the southern part of the state has led to an increase in grasses that could fuel rangeland fires.

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