8:18 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Forest Service/BLM Ban Exploding Targets In Northwest

Federal land managers have banned the use of exploding targets on public lands in the Northwest. The concern is wildfires.  But a leading manufacturer of the popular target shooting accessory is quite unhappy.

Fire investigators suspect exploding targets sparked at least half a dozen wildfires in Washington and Idaho over the past year. The chemical explosives give target shooters instant feedback that they've hit their mark from long range.

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11:18 am
Thu July 11, 2013

Canadian Researchers Predict Wildfires "Will Spread Like Wildfire" In Next 100 Years

Idaho's Trinity Ridge Fire burned more than 145,000 acres in 2013. Canadian researchers say so-called 'mega fires' are will happen more often and with increased intensity over the next century.
Credit Boise National Forest

The person who wrote the headline for this Canadian news release obviously has a sense of humor. But the subject of the release - a new report from researchers at the University of Alberta - offers some serious predictions about global wildfires over the next 100 years.

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12:22 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Company Wants To Test Amphibious Russian Airplane To Fight Idaho Wildfires

Credit Oleg V. Belyakov / WikiCommons

A company aims to test an amphibious Russian firefighting plane this summer on one of Idaho's wildfires.

David Baskett, president of California-based International Emergency Services, hopes to eventually win lucrative U.S. government contracts for the Beriev BE-200 to assist in firefighting.

Last month, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter told Baskett he wants to observe the BE-200, which can fly 400 miles per hour and scoop 3,500 gallons of water from a lake within seconds.

Baskett says the BE-200 can strike at wildfires quickly.

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2:40 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Lightning Ignites A Chain Of Wildfires Across Southern Idaho

Thunderstorms moving across southern Idaho in recent days are being blamed for touching off a series of wildfires now burning forest and rangeland.

Crews are battling fires in Owyhee County in the southwest corner, a blaze in the foothills north of Boise and another scorching grass and timber in the mountains above the Anderson Ranch Reservoir in Elmore County.

In the Magic Valley, crews are trying to contain the Jim Brown fire near Richmond. So far, officials say the fire has burned 8,000 acres and is 15 percent contained.

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3:55 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Gov. Otter Takes On Obama Over CO2 Rules, Wildfires

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter attended the Western Governor's meeting in Utah last weekend.
Credit Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

At a Utah meeting this week, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter blasted President Barack Obama for seeking to limit coal-fired power plant emissions while not allowing sufficient timber cutting to tame big Western wildfires, another greenhouse gas source.

Otter told reporters Idaho wildfires send more carbon dioxide skyward than is released to produce coal-generated electricity used by the state's 1.5 million residents.

The governor's numbers may be technically correct.

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11:22 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Several Small Wildfires Now Burning In Idaho

Smoke from the Turner Fire near Lucky Peak could be seen from Lucky Peak State Park on Monday.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Several small wildfires are keeping Idaho firefighters busy.

The Bureau of Land Management Twin Falls District is fighting seven wildfires in the Magic Valley totaling more than 1,350 acres.

KTVB reports crews are trying to keep the flames from spreading to at least 11 houses and from spreading across U.S. Highway 93.

The BLM says it appears most of the fires were started by lightning, but one is believed to be human caused.

Crews are also battling a wildfire near Lucky Peak Reservoir northwest of Boise that has burned about 300 acres.

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6:36 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Fire Near Lucky Peak Burns 300 Acres

The Turner fire near Lucky Peak Dam started Monday afternoon. It's expected to be contained late Tuesday.
Credit BLM

UPDATE:  Officials say the Turner fire had burned 300 acres as of Monday evening.  Crews expect to have the fire contained late Tuesday.  The fire is believed to have been started by human activity.

ORIGINAL POST: A 100 acre fire is burning south of Lucky Peak Dam. What’s being called the Turner fire because of its proximity to Turner Gulch, started about 5:00 Monday evening. It’s mostly burning land owned by the Bureau of Land Management, though some private property is involved.

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2:05 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

Boise Charity Reaches Out To Families Of Arizona Hotshots Killed In Wildfire

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation maintains a memorial for people who died battling wildland blazes. The memorial is located in Boise, at the National Interagency Fire Center.
Credit Wildland Firefighter Foundation

After the tragic death of 19 Arizona firefighters yesterday, a Boise-based charity is doing what it can to console the community of Prescott. The Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF) will be there as the families of the elite hotshot crew grieve in the next few weeks.

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8:02 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Goodbye Rain, Hello Northwest Fire Season

Credit Kari Greer / Boise National Forest

Say goodbye to the rain. The Northwest and parts of Canada are about to see an abrupt shift from unseasonably cool weather to record-breaking temperatures, in some areas. Triple digit highs are expected to settle over the region for the next week.

It's going to be a tough wildfire season in the West. That's according to federal forecasters. But here in the Northwest, it's been hard to see that prediction through all the rain.

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2013 Wildfire Season
5:04 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Idaho Forests Expected To Burn This Year While Grasslands Will Get A Reprieve

Ed Delgado is with the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

If you live in southern Idaho you likely won't see the catastrophic fires the area experienced last year.

State and federal agencies came together to give predictions Tuesday on what the state's wildfire outlook this summer could be like. 

Ed Delgado manages predictive services at the National Interagency Fire Center.  He says there’s a big difference between fires expected in the mountains and those in the desert this year.

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Wildfire Preparation
11:04 am
Mon May 20, 2013

How The Idaho National Lab Prepares For Wildfire Season

Credit Brad Washa / Boise National Forest

Fire fighters at the Idaho National Laboratory are preparing for an intense wildfire season. Under the U.S. Department of Energy, the INL has its own fire department.

Eric Gosswiller is the site’s fire chief. He says a lack of snowpack in eastern Idaho means his department needs to be ready for fires. But he says that’s something his department has gotten used to.

“Down here at the high desert at the INL – we kind of have the potential for significant fires every year,” says Gosswiller.

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2:03 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Budget Cuts, High Fire Potential Could Mean Tough Wildfire Season In the West

The Springs Fire burned more than 6,000 acres near Garden Valley, Idaho last summer
Credit Kari Greer / Boise National Forest

The Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior came to Boise today to talk about the upcoming fire season.  They said above normal fire potential and less money in the budget will make for a difficult fire season in the West.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack described the wildfire outlook this way:  “We’re going to be faced with a difficult fire season, make no mistake about that.”

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8:53 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Study: Grazing Helps Invasive Cheatgrass To Flourish

The invasive plant Cheatgrass can increase the frequency and severity of range and fires. A new study out of Oregon State University suggests that overgrazing could be helping an invasive grass to flourish.
Credit PNNL - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory / Flickr Creative Commons

A new study out of Oregon State University suggests that overgrazing could be helping an invasive grass to flourish. That differs from previous studies that have found grazing can better manage that plant — cheatgrass — which threatens rangeland habitat.

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7:51 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Northwest Fire Season Predicted To Be A Scorcher This Year

Zane Brown InciWeb

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 6:05 pm

Several forest fires are already burning in Western Washington and crews are mopping up a big one in central Oregon. There were also two grass fires that burned near Middleton, Idaho just west of Boise, this past weekend.

Dry winds and above average temperatures predicted this summer and fall, have fire managers preparing for an earlier than usual season.

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Wildfire Prediction
3:11 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Wildfire Managers Prepare For An Active Season In Idaho

Credit Brad Washa / Boise National Forest

Firefighters continue to battle a large blaze in southern California that started last week. At its most dangerous, the wildfire threatened about 4,000 homes and has moved quickly in the dry and windy conditions.

In Idaho, the National Interagency Fire Center predicts a slightly milder – but still above average – fire season.

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6:00 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Spray Now To Reduce Highway Fires This Summer In Idaho

Wildfire along I-84 in July of last year.
Credit Idaho Transportation Department

A new program to spray along Interstate 84 ahead of wildfire season is aimed at reducing fires and costs.

Last year, 16 fires started along I-84 between milepost 60 and 110.  Those fires burned more than 5,000 acres. The Bureau of Land Management spent more than $280,000 to fight them.  That doesn’t include what other agencies spent helping to put those fires out.

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3:11 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

U.S. Forest Service Moves Away From "Fight All Fire" Policy

Trinity Ridge Fire
Credit Boise National Forest

The U-S Forest Service is reversing its policy to aggressively fight all wildfires. This change was announced in a letter from Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell last month.

In May 2012, Forest Service Deputy Chief Jim Hubbard issued a "fight all fire" directive. This may be why the feds spent more than $1 billion fighting fires last year. They came in $400 million over budget.

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2:21 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Half Of Firefighters' Requests For Air Tankers Last Year Went Unfilled

An air tanker sits on the tarmac of the Boise airport in June 2012. The U.S. government borrowed the Canadian plane and crew to help fight wildfires.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise has released aviation figures for the 2012 fire season.  The numbers show that about half of the calls for air tankers to assist in fighting wildfires last summer went unfilled.

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10:51 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Idaho Rangeland Budget Approved By Committee

Credit Aaron Kunz

Idaho ranchers looking to help fight rangeland fires near their homes received a funding nod from lawmakers this Thursday.

The Idaho Budget committee unanimously approved $400-thousand dollars for more volunteer rangeland fire protection associations. The money was requested by Governor Butch Otter in January.

Idaho currently has one fire association, in Mountain Home. Three more are proposed for Owyhee, Elmore, and Twin Falls counties. Graig Glazier is with the Idaho Department of Lands. He says that’s a good start.

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2013 Legislature
11:38 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Idaho Closer To Enlisting Help From Citizen Rangeland Firefighters

Firefighters spray water on a fire burning in Idaho.
Credit Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

An Idaho legislative committee Tuesday approved a bill to encourage teams of ranchers who would volunteer to fight rangeland fires. 

The first rangeland fire protection association in Idaho formed a year ago in Mountain Home. It allows ranchers to help fight fires alongside firefighters with the Bureau of Land Management.

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