Wildfires

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

After weeks of sunny, warm weather, it finally rained today in parts of southern Idaho. Bill Wojcik is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Boise.  “Well this morning we had the rain falling as far west as Jerome and Twin Falls and at this time it extends all the way back to Idaho Falls and probably even into the western part of Wyoming.”

The Pocatello wildfire that destroyed 66 homes and caused the evacuation of more than 1,000 people last week has been contained. 

Crews began fighting the fire last Thursday.  They had it contained by Monday morning. 

Lieutenant Paul Manning of the Pocatello Police Department says today will be the last day fire crews work the scene, but they’ll continue to limit access to the area.  “We’re keeping the area secure, meaning that all the residents can only enter the area with proof of residency,” says Manning. 

Pocatello Fire Now 50 Percent Contained

Jun 30, 2012
Bill Volk / BLM, Pocatello office

Update (12:50 PM Saturday)  Officials in Pocatello said Saturday the Charlotte fire that’s burned more than 60 homes is now 50-percent contained.  They hope to have the fire fully contained Sunday.

According to TV station KPVI, police are providing escorts for those evacuated residents who wish to visit their homes.  That will last until 5 PM Saturday.  No escorts are planned for Sunday.  Authorities say it will likely be Monday before evacuated residents are allowed to return to their homes for good.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Firefighters evacuated nearly 30 homes Monday night in a neighborhood on the outskirts of Mountain Home. High winds pushed right through the neighborhood, destroying six homes.  

Crews Tuesday were able to get this grassland fire completely out.  Now, the evacuated families are coming to grips with what happened.

Mountain Home Fire Burns Six Houses

Jun 19, 2012
Mallory Eils / BLM

The Bureau of Land Management says a wildfire burned six homes last night in a neighborhood located on the edge of Mountain Home.  Crews will remain on the scene throughout the day.  The fire has not yet been determined fully contained.  

The fire started around 7:30 PM on the southwest side of the city.  It was spread quickly by strong winds.  No injuries were reported.

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. 

Boise District Bureau of Land Management

Fire crews got the upper hand on the Con Shea wildfire Friday. 

Investigators say someone caused the blaze which burned about 9,000 acres along the Snake River near Murphy.  

Brandon Hampton is with the Boise District Bureau of Land Management.  He says, "It could be a variety of things - most likely a campfire ring would indicate a human presence prior to the fire starting.  You can also find remnants of shooting, for example, shell casings, fragments of exploding targets, things like that."

Hundreds Pay Tribute To Fallen Boise Firemen

Jun 15, 2012

Several hundred people turned out at the Linen Building in downtown Boise Thursday night for a memorial to honor firefighters Ron Chambless and Todd Tompkins.  They were killed June 3 when their Lockheed P2V air tanker crashed as they helped fight a wildfire near the Utah-Nevada border.  Just before the memorial, the men were honored with a procession of cars, fire trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles.  Family members held a service for Chambless on June 10 in his native Texas.  A service for Tompkins will be held Saturday in Washington.   

Wildfire Near Murphy Burns Nearly 9,000 Acres

Jun 14, 2012

3:57 PM Update:  A spokeswoman for the Boise District Bureau of Land Management says they hope to contain the Con Shea wildfire near Murphy by noon Friday.

“Things for the most part are looking really good right now,” according to Mallory Eils. 

Two hundred firefighters with equipment that includes rigs, bulldozers, air tankers, and helicopters are out controlling the blaze.

10:30 AM:  The Con Shea wildfire started overnight 4 miles north of Murphy.  Since then it’s grown to nearly 10,000 acres. 

O'BrienDigital / Flickr

Two grass fires that burned south of Kuna Sunday were sparked by gunfire.  Both fires were contained by Sunday night and both burned on public land. 

Mallory Eils is a fire information officer for the Boise District Bureau of Land Management.  She says the Kave Fire and the Poen Fire were the result of gunshots.  “Someone was probably out doing some target practice and shooting something that resulted in a spark or maybe an exploding target is a common thing that people shoot at and because of the dry fuel conditions out there a wildfire resulted.” 

Washington DNR

National experts predict parts of the West, including southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon, are at a higher than normal risk for wildfires this season.

A map of the Western U.S. shows three tendrils of red. One looks like a statue from Easter Island whose foot and tail cover Southern California.  Its thin body extends across Nevada while its misshapen head reaches into the southern border of Oregon and Idaho. 

Idaho National Laboratory

A small fire at the Idaho National Laboratory flared up Monday afternoon on the roof of a building at the lab’s Materials and Fuels Complex.  The fire was put out with no injuries.  INL spokesman Ethan Huffman believes welding work sparked the blaze. "The particular building that had the fire involved in it did not house radioactive materials.  It housed standard offices, conference rooms, the cafeteria."  Huffman says there is no danger or risk to the public.  He characterizes it as a minor fire. 

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio

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