Wildfires

Wildfires
6:30 am
Tue August 6, 2013

North Carolina Pilots Fight Idaho Fires While Mourning Loss Of Colleagues

North Carolina Air National Guard members Robert Hegler of Lugoff, SC; Jermaine Parker of Charlotte, NC; and Tom Jacky of Matthews, NC sit under a tent at the Boise airport, waiting for orders from fire managers.
Scott Graf Boise State Public Radio

Crews from all over the West and Canada are in Idaho this summer to help fight the state’s wildfires.  Collaboration is common when it comes to fire suppression. But this summer’s roster also includes an east coast air tanker unit that’s still recovering from the deaths of four crew members last year.

North Carolina probably wouldn’t be the first place you’d go to find expert crews to battle wildfires in rugged terrain. “Well believe it or not, we do have mountains,” laughs Lt. Col. Harkey of the North Carolina Air National Guard. “We do have the Appalachian Mountains near us.”

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Wildfires
3:30 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Falling Tree Kills Firefighter In Central Oregon

Fires have hit Oregon hard this season, including this one in the Douglas Complex in southern Oregon.
Credit Douglas Forest Protective Association

Authorities are identifying the wildland firefighter who was killed Thursday outside the town of Sisters as John Hammack of Central Oregon. Another firefighter was injured in the accident and was taken to a local hospital.

On Wednesday night, the skies over Central Oregon were lit up by more than 700 lightning strikes. Hammick was a part of a tree falling team helping put out new fire starts. He was working with 45-year-old Norman Crawford of Sisters when a tree they were cutting fell on them.

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Wildfires
7:16 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Idaho's Wildfire Season Costs The State $8.5 Million...So Far

Credit U.S. Air Force / Flickr Creative Commons

It's the first day of August, and wildfire season has already cost Idaho $8.5 million. With two more months of fire activity likely, it's looking like the state will spend more than it did last year to fight fires.

So why the increase in fire fighting costs so early in the summer? The answer lies partly with the kind of fires the state is battling.

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StoryCorps
6:00 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Idaho StoryCorps: A Wildfire Changes One Woman’s Life Forever

Nancy Suiter and her daughter Josie Newton
Credit StoryCorps

When wildfire hits the Foothills of the Treasure Valley, everyone who lives there goes on alert.  Three years ago, Nancy Suiter felt that fear when lightning struck the ground near Highway 16. 

A wildfire started in the Eagle foothills and the home Suiter and her husband had built 32 years before was in the path of the flames.  Her daughter Josie Newton took her mother to the StoryCorps booth in Boise to talk about that day.

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Wildfires
6:00 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Idaho Rangeland Fire Activity Normal, But August Could Be "Game Changer"

Credit Bureau of Land Management Idaho

It’s the last day of July, and Idaho’s wildfire season is keeping land managers busy. There are currently seven large fires burning in the state.

Jessica Gardetto is with the Bureau of Land Management Idaho office. She says that compared to last year’s record-breaking fire season, Idaho’s rangeland fire picture looks normal.

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Wildfires
4:23 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Smoke From Wildfires Leads To Unhealthy Air In Oregon

Smoke from the Big Windy Complex Fire near Galice, Oregon.
Credit Pacific NW Team 2 IMT

Smoke from wildfires is creating poor breathing conditions in parts of the Northwest. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says the air has reached "very unhealthy" levels in parts of southwest Oregon. That's due to a series of wildfires that have led to some evacuations but so far have caused very little property damage. The lingering smoke is the talk of the town in Grants Pass today.

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Wildfires
8:32 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Homes Destroyed As Northwest Fire Season Lives Up To Forecasts

A helicopter drops water on the 10,000 acre Lodgepole Fire near Challis, Idaho.
Credit USDS Forest Service

A fire that started Saturday morning near Wenatchee, Wash., has now burned more than 60 square miles in rugged terrain. The fire has burned five homes and the residents of another 60 have been told to evacuate. It's one of nearly two-dozen major fires now burning across the Northwest.

Forecasters predicted a higher-than-normal fire season this year in parts of the region.

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Wildfires
1:53 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Idaho Fire Restrictions Ordered Beginning Thursday

Credit U.S. Forest Service

Forest managers are ordering heightened fire restrictions on public and private land in central and southwestern Idaho, a response to hot, dry conditions and very high wildfire danger.

Meanwhile, numerous fires continue to burn in Idaho, nearly all of them are in remote areas where no structures are threatened.

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Wildfires
1:30 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Crews Expect To Get The Upper Hand On Wildfire Near Gooding

Fire managers for the Ridge Fire burning in the Boise National Forest say helicopters have played a big role in working to contain the blaze.
Credit Boise National Forest

Update, 5:00 AM Tuesday:  BLM officials now say crews hope to have the Fir Grove Fire contained by Tuesday evening.  The latest estimates of burned acreage now put the fire at approximately 7150 acres.  Initially, fire officials had estimated the fire's size at more than 8500 acres.

Original post:  Sunday afternoon, the Fir Grove Fire sprang up near Gooding, forcing the partial closure of Highway 46 and Highway 20.

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Fires
9:58 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Truck Dragging Chain-Link Fence Sparks Multiple Roadside Fires

A chain-link fence dragging from a pick-up truck turned into a mobile fire starter on Saturday as the combination touched off 19 small fires on a rural highway in southwestern Idaho.

The scenario seems improbable: A truck traveling along State Highway 52 between Horseshoe Bend and the rural hamlet of Montour had a chain link fence stuck to its bed.

It's late July, of course, so the grass and vegetation along the side of the road is naturally tinder-dry.

Put the two together and you have the recipe for multiple roadside fires.

Wildfires
2:53 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Lodgepole Fire Near Challis Could Burn For Months

The Lodgepole Fire is burning about 10 miles outside of Challis.
Credit Ken Loda / Great Basin Incident Management Team 7

Update 10:10 a.m. : The fire has grown to 6,559 acres Friday. Fire managers say they made some progress with fire lines Thursday. The blaze is 5 percent contained. Four more hotshot crews were added to the roster of firefighters.

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Wildfires
5:05 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Redfish Lake Lodge Plans To Re-Open Thursday After Wildfire Evacuation

Credit Flickr Creative Commons

The popular Sawtooth Mountain getaway, Redfish Lake Lodge, is expected to reopen Thursday after it was evacuated this week because of a nearby wildfire.

Lake Lodge is usually fully booked through July and August. They had a full house this week when the 210 Road Fire forced evacuations.

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Wildfires
9:53 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Idaho Wildfire Update: Ridge Fire At 3,000 Acres, Pine Creek Fire 80 Percent Contained

More than 400 firefighters worked on the Pine Creek Fire northeast of Boise over the weekend. Fire managers say it's now 80 percent contained.
Credit Boise National Forest

Wildfires continued burning across southern and central Idaho over the weekend, with several new fires also igniting. 

The Ridge Fire north of Lowman in the Boise National Forest has now burned about 3,000 acres. Officials say it's 7 percent contained. Despite predictions Friday of significant growth, the fire did not grow Sunday.

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Wildfires
12:00 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Ridge Fire Near Lowman Could Burn For Weeks

The Ridge Fire has burned a relatively small area...so far. But officials say the fire has the potential to grow quickly.
Credit Dave Olson / Boise National Forest

Those managing the fight against a fire burning in the Boise National Forest near Lowman say the fire could burn for weeks. 

Lightning started the Ridge Fire Tuesday evening about 15 miles north of Lowman. It’s estimated to have burned nearly 900 acres. But Boise National Forest spokesman Dave Olson says that number is expected to increase quickly.

“We’re anticipating that acreages are doubling each day,” Olson says. "So if conditions continue as they are, I think we could see increases in acreages fairly substantially each day into the future.”

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Wildfires
9:10 am
Fri July 19, 2013

The Best Sources For Idaho Wildfire Info

Wildland firefighters get a morning briefing at the Pine Creek Fire in the Boise National Forest.
Credit Boise National Forest

Idaho's wildfire season is ramping up, and that means there will be a lot of rapidly changing information about fire activity into the fall.

We've compiled a list of agencies, organizations and journalists who regularly tweet about fires in the region.

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Wildfires
10:59 am
Thu July 18, 2013

13 Words You Need To Know During Wildfire Season

Credit Brad Washa / Boise National Forest

Idaho's wildfire season is here, and that means you're going to be hearing a lot of firefighting jargon to describe what's going on.

We put together this list of key firefighting terms you're likely to hear in the next few months.

Glossary

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Wildfires
1:33 pm
Wed July 17, 2013

Lightning Sparks 8 Fires In The Boise National Forest

Credit Boise National Forest

Eight new fires started after a storm rumbled through the Boise National Forest Tuesday night. More than 4,000 lighting strikes were reported. The largest lightning-caused fire had reportedly burned 150 acres by this morning. Crews were ready for new starts after a red flag warning went into effect.

Nearby, the Pine Creek Fire has claimed about 1,500 acres since it started on Monday afternoon. The blaze is about 10 percent contained, with 240 firefighters at work.

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Air Quality
10:54 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Southern Idaho Could Be In For Another Bad Air Summer

Boise Sky about 9:45 a.m. September 20, 2012
Credit Aaron Kunz / Earthfix

Wednesday’s air quality forecast in the Treasure Valley is for “moderate” conditions, which can cause health issues for some people with respiratory problems.

It’s been that way for several days now mainly because of ozone pollution, not wildfire smoke. Ozone is the most common reason for bad air during Idaho summers, but last year was a different story says Michael Toole with Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality.

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Wildfires
7:47 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Collaboration Credited For Saving Homes From Wildfire Near Eagle

Tuesday night's fire north of Eagle started around 8 o'clock when lightning moved through the area near Highway 16. Firefighters had the fire contained within four hours.
Credit Sheila Hudson

The Ada County Sheriff's Department credits the swift response of multiple fire agencies for saving about 30 homes along Highway 16 north of Eagle Tuesday night.  The fire started around 8 o'clock when lightning from passing storms struck.  Within minutes, families in the area near Firebird Raceway started to evacuate.

Ava Linhart lives in the area.  She says she and her daughter were home watching the storm when the lightning hit. 

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Wildfires
9:24 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Brush Fire Off Highway 16 Now Contained

Area resident Sheila Hudson captured this photo of smoke rising from the fire off Highway 16.
Credit Sheila Hudson

Update 12:57 a.m.: The Ada County Sheriff's Department says people can now safely return home after a wildfire forced many to evacuate Tuesday night. Highway 16 is now open in both directions. 

The Sheriff's Department estimates the fire has burned about 1,000 acres and is now fully contained. No homes were lost. Flames damaged a barn and an outbuilding. 

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