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  • Idaho-2006

    Idaho fires sprawl in Rockies PDF | Print | E-mail

    CHRISTOPHER SMITH - The Associated Press
    BOISE, Idaho -- Wildfires expanded exponentially in the forests of the Idaho Rockies Friday, with crews battling hot temperatures, steep terrain and flames racing through tinder-dry timber stands, as national fire managers reported the fire danger in the Northwest and Northern Rockies was worsening.

    The Elkhorn fire, spotted late Thursday at 200 acres, grew to 1,000 acres overnight. Firefighters worked Friday to keep it away from a subdivision near the village of North Fork, about 25 miles north of Salmon.

    "It's not threatening structures at this time, but we are keeping a close eye on that subdivision about four miles away," said Kent Fuellenbach of the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Salmon. "Crews are trying to anchor the west end of the fire to keep it from advancing in that direction."

    The Trailhead fire, about 10 miles west-southwest of Stanley, also grew to 1,000 acres, with trees torching, or suddenly bursting into flame. No structures were threatened, but containment is not expected until the middle of next week.

    "It's going to be a long, tough battle," said Buz Vans****, incident commander. "The terrain is steep, rocky and it's just plain nasty country to fight fire."

    The fires grew as the risk from wildland blazes in the Northern Rockies and the Northwest edged toward extreme.

    "The Pacific Northwest, the northern edge of the Great Basin and the Northern Rockies are certainly drying out with this big high-pressure system that's been sitting over us," said Tom Wordell, leader of the Predictive Services Unit at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.

    "The fire danger indices, at least in the Northern Rockies and portions of the Great Basin, are tracking fairly similar to 2000," one of the busiest fire seasons in recent years.

    Unlike 2000, when crews were already battling large forest fires by this time, higher-altitude timber stands in the vast forests of the Northern Rockies and Northwest are just now drying out enough to be easily ignited.

    But huge range fires in Texas and Oklahoma in the spring burned hundreds of thousands of acres of grassland, pushing the year toward the record acreage column before traditional fire seasons even began
    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

  • #2
    Firefighters shift focus from suppression to protection
    Associated Press Writer
    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - With all available equipment and crews fully
    engaged on more than 40 large wildfires across the West, federal
    fire managers were shifting more resources from suppression to
    protecting high-value targets in the path of approaching flames.
    "When we get into this time of the year, when fires are
    primarily in the high country with a lot of fuel and timber to
    burn, it makes more sense to incorporate a strategy of point
    protection," said Rose Davis, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman at
    the national firefighting command center in Boise.
    "We're focusing on protecting community infrastructure,
    historical resources and precious watersheds," she said. "We need
    to look at where we can be the most effective with what we have,
    knowing these fires could keep burning for another month or so."
    Idaho led the nation with 12 large wildfires Tuesday, including
    several on the fringes of rural mountain communities. The state
    Department of Environmental Quality issued what it said was its
    first "red" air quality alert for the populous Boise Valley after
    drifting smoke from wildfires sent ozone pollution to unhealthy
    "The smoke is really putting us over the top," said Mike
    Dubois, air toxics analyst for the department.
    Across Idaho, more than 124 square miles of timber and range had
    burned. Federal fire managers said active fires were increasing in
    size and intensity due to hot, dry weather patterns. In addition,
    more thunderstorms were forecast through the Northern Rockies that
    will likely trigger several new fires.
    "There is no real relief in sight," said Rick Ochoa, national
    fire weather program manager for the U.S. Bureau of Land
    Management. "We're anticipating lightning storms in eastern Oregon
    through Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and afterward, next week could
    turn hotter and drier."
    In Idaho, the focus for firefighters was saving homes, historic
    cabins and Forest Service facilities from the rapidly advancing
    flames. On the largest blaze in the state, the Potato fire near
    Stanley, crews wrapped old mining buildings and homes in
    fire-retardant material and rigged sprinklers on roofs. The cost of
    fighting the nearly three-week-old fire in the rugged Sawtooth
    mountains is $9.1 million thus far, with containment not expected
    until Aug. 28.
    On the South Fork Complex, a series of fires 13 miles east of
    McCall, summer homes in the community of Yellow Pine were being
    fire-wrapped as was a U.S. Forest Service work center. To the
    north, crews on the Lightning fire two miles from the town of
    Riggins were working to keep flames away from the Chair Point
    Lookout, an unmanned Forest Service fire watch tower, as well as an
    electronic communications installation.
    In the Nez Perce National Forest, a team was scrambling to wrap
    fire-retardant material around the Whitewater Wilderness Lodge, a
    remote guest ranch catering to rafters along the Salmon River.
    Officials were afraid that the Trout Creek fire on the Payette
    National Forest across the river would send burning embers over the
    water and ignite the ranch on the opposite bank.
    "In previous years, fire has jumped the river, even as floaters
    were going by," said Laura Smith, spokeswoman for the Nez Perce
    forest in Grangeville.
    Crews were also working to fire-protect the historic Jim Moore
    cabin on the Salmon River, a popular stopping point for clients of
    whitewater rafting outfitters.
    On the southeastern Idaho range Tuesday, lightning triggered the
    three-square-mile Crystal fire, which was spreading rapidly 26
    miles northwest of American Falls. Fire managers ordered
    single-engine airtankers and more bulldozers to try to rein in the
    On the Net:
    Large Active Fire Map: http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

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    • #3
      August 16th

      BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Thousands of lightning strikes across Idaho
      sparked several new wildfires Wednesday that boosted the state's
      total of large, major active fires to 15, the most in the country.
      The situation was compounded by hot temperatures and gusty winds
      that fanned flames, scorching more than 215 square miles of
      rangeland and forest statewide.
      "We had over 4,000 lightning strikes in eastern Idaho which
      ignited several new fires that grew quickly and are still
      growing," said Joanna Wilson of Eastern Idaho Interagency Fire
      Center. "We've been putting in a lot of orders for bulldozers,
      engines, water tenders and anyone available to come and help us."
      The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise reported 20 new
      large fires Wednesday for a total of 57, covering 680 square miles
      in the western United States. Besides the 15 large, active fires in
      Idaho, there were nine in Montana, seven in California and six each
      in Nevada and Oregon.
      On the desert range of eastern Idaho, the Crystal fire 20 miles
      northwest of American Falls blackened more than 62 square miles of
      grassland in a single day.
      Fifty firefighters worked the Basin fire seven miles south of
      Arbor, which scorched more than seven square miles of public
      pastureland. Aided by neighbors and volunteers, ranchers were
      preparing to conduct an emergency cattle drive to evacuate
      livestock from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management grazing
      allotments ahead of advancing flames.
      Another 80 firefighters were trying to contain the Bowen fire
      three miles west of Holbrook that started late Tuesday and burned
      more than 15 square miles overnight. It also prompted federal land
      management agencies to provide backup grazing lands for ranchers
      relocating their livestock.
      About 155 firefighters from the Twin Falls District of the BLM
      were allowed to return to duty Wednesday after a daylong safety
      stand-down ordered because the agency had its third injury accident
      in a month. The halt to firefighting activity was called after a
      fire engine rolled over Monday, injuring three firefighters.
      "This is a risky business and we can make is safer if we pause
      and give our firefighters a chance to think about safety," said
      Skye Buffat, a spokeswoman for the BLM.
      The fire engine accident came a day after a helicopter nosedived
      into a road in Idaho's Payette National Forest, killing the pilot
      and three firefighters. No cause for the crash has been determined.
      The state's largest, oldest and most expensive timber fire, the
      28-square-mile Potato blaze seven miles north of Stanley, was 60
      percent contained Wednesday with suppression costs running at $9.7
      The Trail fire 22 miles north of Stanley grew to four square
      miles and was less than a mile from the Double D guest ranch. Crews
      created a fire defense line around ranch buildings as well as the
      Loon Creek Guard Station on the Salmon-Challis National Forest.
      Fire managers were warning river runners floating the Salmon
      River drainage to avoid several campsites where fires were heading
      and to watch for falling rocks and burning logs dislodged by fires
      on the canyon rims.
      The Boundary Complex fire 14 miles southeast of Landmark was
      within a half-mile of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River, and fire
      managers were allowing commercial and private boaters with float
      permits to access a popular launch area with a fire crew escort in
      the early morning hours before closing the road to allow
      helicopters to conduct suppression work.
      On the Trout Creek Fire, 45 miles northeast of McCall, eight
      whitewater campsites within a five-mile section of the main Salmon
      River were closed Wednesday to floaters because of fire danger.
      Boaters were warned of heavy ash fallout and smoky conditions in
      the river bottom. The 22 firefighters working the three-square-mile
      Trout Creek fire were concentrating on stopping it from reaching
      the south bank of the Salmon.
      "We're short-handed so they are just working it along the
      river, not trying to do containment action but focusing along the
      south bank trying to prevent it from jumping the river," said John
      Daugherty of the Trout Creek fire management team.
      On the north bank of the Salmon River, crews from the Nez Perce
      National Forest were fireproofing the Whitewater Wilderness Lodge
      to protect against burning embers blown across the river from the
      Trout Creek fire igniting the backcountry tourist destination.
      Along the South Fork of the Salmon River, the collection of 25
      fires totaling 14 square miles called the South Fork Complex east
      of McCall continued to burn together as more than 550 firefighters
      worked to protect the cabin community of Yellow Pine. A thick layer
      of acrid smoke across much of the central Idaho Rockies was holding
      heat from the flames close to the terrain, accelerating the drying
      out of timber and brush.
      "When we are in a warm, dry weather pattern, inversions are
      common which hold smoke in canyons while keeping ridge tops warm
      enough for fires to spread," said Bob Tobin, a meteorologist
      assigned to the team fighting the South Fork Complex. "The weather
      is playing a major role in the continued growth and intensity of
      all of these fires."
      On the Net:
      National Fire Incident Database: http://www.inciweb.org/

      (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
      Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
      Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

      *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
      On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


      • #4
        August 20th

        ATOMIC CITY, Idaho (AP) - Firefighters battling a
        328-square-mile blaze sparked by a lightning strike in eastern
        Idaho got help Saturday from Mother Nature, as winds that had
        fanned the flames died down.
        Three single-engine air tankers continued aerial support,
        dropping retardant in the lava-flow area.
        "Our eyes in the sky say the fire perimeter around the Aberdeen
        area is pretty sealed off," said Jonetta Holt, a spokeswoman for
        the U.S. Forest Service, on Saturday afternoon. "The only fire
        activity they've seen is in the lava-flow area 10 miles from Atomic
        The fire started Tuesday and quickly burned through thousands of
        acres of grass and sage.
        By the weekend, however, about 175 personnel had the so-called
        Crystal Fire more than 80 percent contained, according to the
        National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
        Holt said it will likely be "a couple of days" before the next
        weather system moves through eastern Idaho with thunderstorms, so
        "we think we're going to seal it off pretty good."
        In all, eight major fires were burning Saturday in Idaho, down
        from 15 on Thursday, NIFC reported.
        More than 500 personnel were still working on the South Fork
        Complex fire about 13 miles from McCall, which had burned 25 square
        miles of forest and was about 10 percent contained. About 30
        members of the Idaho National Guard were on traffic-control duty in
        Valley County, after Gov. Jim Risch declared a fire disaster late
        last week. The region's law enforcement agencies weren't able to
        muster enough resources to do it by themselves.
        And 538 firefighters were mopping up on the 20-square-mile
        Potato Fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, which was 75
        percent contained. That fire, which started July 27, is expected to
        be completely contained Aug. 28 and has cost more than $7 million
        so far to fight.

        (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
        Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
        Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

        *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
        On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


        • #5
          August 21st

          BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Weather moving across Idaho on Monday should
          lead to increased wildfire activity, as wind fans the flames of
          blazes already burning and lightning strikes ignite new ones,
          federal fire officials said.
          "It should get worse over the next few days," said Rose Davis,
          a spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
          "We're getting hammered, according to the lightning maps. If you
          add what we already have, plus the wind we have forecast, that
          should hamper large fire control and increase the number of new
          The center reports that seven major fires are burning across the
          state, on 415 square miles of territory, including the new Ulm Peak
          Fire in northern Idaho's Panhandle National Forest on the border to
          It's spread to about just less than a third of a square mile,
          but a 20-person firefighting team equipped to tackle complex blazes
          has been mobilized to try to get a handle on the blaze about 12
          miles southwest of Noxon, Mont. Steep, rocky, inaccessible terrain
          and low fuel moistures have hampered containment efforts.
          Meanwhile, the Crystal Fire that torched 350 square miles of
          grassland and sage growing in eastern Idaho's volcanic moonscape
          since last Tuesday is 90 percent contained, after firefighters over
          the weekend and Monday got help from favorable weather conditions.
          That fire burned to within 10 miles of Atomic City.

          (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
          Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
          Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

          *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
          On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


          • #6
            August 24th

            BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Active large wildfires in Idaho had burned
            more than 625 square miles by Thursday evening, as crews near Twin
            Falls and in the Boise National Forest scrambled to get a handle on
            lightning-caused fires that were being pushed by wind.
            Eighteen large fires were burning, the most of any state,
            according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
            They included four fires in the Boise National Forest, including
            the Red Mountain fire just north of U.S. Highway 21 at Lowman -
            which had expanded by 50 percent to 19 square miles - and the
            Rattlesnake Point fire north of Garden Valley, which doubled to 25
            square miles.
            Forest Service officials said 650 firefighters, along with air
            support from helicopters and retardant-dropping tanker aircraft,
            were working to contain those and several other blazes in the Boise
            National Forest. Still, that's an unusually small number of
            firefighters for such large fires, said spokesman Dave Olson -
            meaning they'll likely burn in some fashion until the fall rains
            "These will be long duration, large acreage fires that will
            likely need a season-ending rainstorm," Olson said. "When you
            start getting anything over 5,000 to 10,000 acres, you need a lot
            of people. Quite frankly, we don't have that many people for these
            size of fires."
            With 65 large fires burning across 10 Western states - including
            nine in Montana, 11 in Oregon and four large fires in Nevada -
            virtually all of the nation's 15,000 federal firefighters are in
            the field. That means fewer resources for blazes not threatening
            communities, so bare-bones crews often must settle for merely
            checking a blaze's advance - without any realistic hope of putting
            it out.
            For instance, firefighters from Arizona, Oregon and New Mexico
            joined the fight against the Columbia complex of fires in southeast
            Washington on Thursday. Homes were threatened there. More than 500
            firefighters were assigned to the complex.
            Idaho Bureau of Land Management firefighters battling grassland
            blazes in Owyhee County had good luck on a pair of blazes, the
            6,100-acre Chubby Spain fire near the historic mining community of
            Silver City and the nearby Frenchie Fire, which grew to 10,000
            Both fires should be controlled by Friday afternoon, BLM
            officials said.
            "There was still active interior burning, but crews managed to
            hold the lines," said Bob Narus, a spokesman.
            Both the Forest Service and the BLM had fire restrictions in
            place for territory they manage in southwestern Idaho, including
            limiting fires to designated recreation areas and prohibiting
            outdoor smoking.
            To the north, the South Fork Complex fire near Yellow Pine had
            grown to more than 31 square miles and led to continued road
            closures in the Payette National Forest. According to fire
            managers, residents have been warned if the flames erupt they could
            be asked to evacuate.
            In northcentral Idaho near the rafting and fishing town of
            Riggins, the 9-square-mile Heaven's Gate Complex was threatening
            structures including campgrounds and Forest Service lookouts.
            "Crowning, torching, running and long-range spotting reported,"
            according to the Northern Rockies Coordination Center.
            In the Panhandle National Forest just south of the Canadian
            border, a historic fire lookout and woodland caribou habitat were
            being threatened by the 1-square-mile Hughes 32 Complex fire, which
            firefighters said they observed making speedy runs up and down
            steep slopes forested by thick groves of cedar, hemlock and
            sub-alpine fir.
            And in southcentral Idaho south of Twin Falls, the
            125-square-mile Sailor Cap fire was 10 percent contained but was
            threatening grazing land for cattle and some wildlife habitat.
            Extreme fire behavior was observed as flames ripped through grass
            and sage, BLM officials said.

            (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
            Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
            Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

            *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
            On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


            • #7
              August 28th

              Weather front expected to fuel western wildfire growth
              By CHRISTOPHER SMITH
              Associated Press Writer
              BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Hot and dry weather preceding a cold front
              advancing across the West has wildland fire managers bracing for
              dozens of the largest wildfires to be on the move early this week.
              "Tuesday is going to be a critical fire weather day from the
              Cascades (in Washington) all the way through Montana because of hot
              temperatures, gusting winds and low humidity out ahead of the
              front," said Rick Ochoa, national fire weather program manager for
              the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. "There's also strong potential
              for some lightning to occur Tuesday in the Northwest and Northern
              But temperatures will plummet once the cold front moves inland
              through the Pacific Northwest, with a chance of rain and even snow
              in the Idaho, Wyoming and Montana mountains above 7,000-feet
              "There's going to be this roller-coaster weather pattern, where
              we warm up for a day or two in the West, then we drop off quite a
              bit and warm up again for the Labor Day weekend," said Ochoa.
              "Over the next few days, the fires are going to be more active
              than they have been recently."
              The federal firefighting command center in Boise was tracking 15
              major fires in Idaho, eight in Washington, seven in Oregon and six
              in Montana among the 47 large, active fires that were burning
              nearly 1,500 square miles in the West. Fire danger was classified
              as very high to extreme Monday in Arizona, California, Idaho,
              Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South
              Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
              More than 240 firefighters worked Monday to rein in the
              resurrected Trailhead fire in Idaho's Sawtooth National Recreation
              Area, which had been declared controlled on July 31 but roared back
              to life on Aug. 22. The fire is actively burning 10 miles southwest
              of Stanley in central Idaho and was 40 percent contained after
              torching more than six square miles.
              Here are updates on the state's other major, active fires:
              - Residents of the Yellow Pine and the Big Creek/Edwardsburg
              areas in the Payette National Forest remained under an advisory
              alert to be prepared to evacuate as the South Fork Complex,
              consisting of 26 separate fires, burned 13 miles east of McCall. A
              Forest Service work center, lookout tower, campgrounds and numerous
              power transmission lines were also at risk. There were 523
              firefighters working the complex, which has burned 35 square miles
              of mixed conifer and subalpine fir.
              - More than 450 firefighters were committed on the Red Mountain
              Fire 12 miles northeast of Lowman that had burned 22 square miles
              of timber. Crews installed a sprinkler system around the Bull Trout
              Lake campground and were trying to use old burnout lines from a
              1992 fire in the area to bolster containment lines in anticipation
              of a wind-driven run.
              - Crews on the Trail Creek fire 22 miles north of Stanley spent
              Monday removing trees that could spread fire to the Diamond D Ranch
              and the Loon Creek Guard Station, which are threatened by the
              southern flank of the blaze.
              - The Potato fire northeast of Stanley neared full containment
              Monday after burning since July 27 and covering 28 square miles. At
              a suppression cost of more than $13 million, it was Idaho's most
              expensive fire this season. One abandoned cabin was destroyed, but
              several historic mining structures and residences were saved.
              - Cabins and outbuildings at Silver Creek Plunge in the Boise
              National Forest were being protected 13 miles northeast of Garden
              Valley on the 31-square-mile Rattlesnake Complex fire.
              Approximately 450 firefighters were working to build fire line and
              protect several forest facilities, including the historic Landmark
              Ranger Station.
              - Creeping fire in grasses and group tree torching were observed
              in the Heavens Gate Complex, a collection of fires totaling 12.8
              square miles in the Gospel Hump Wilderness Area, Hells Canyon
              National Recreation Area and the Nez Perce National Forest. There
              were 283 firefighters assigned to the complex, which is 10 miles
              west of Riggins.
              - A historic fire lookout 10 miles north of Nordman in the Idaho
              Panhandle National Forest was prepared to withstand the approaching
              flames of the Hughes 32 Complex fire while 261 personnel were
              assigned to the Ulm Peak fire burning on the Panhandle forest along
              the Idaho-Montana border. Workers finished putting a protective
              wrap on the Gem Peak lookout in Montana's neighboring Kootenai
              National Forest as a precaution against the Ulm Peak fire spreading
              On the Net:
              Fire Incident Information System: http://www.inciweb.org/

              (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
              Last edited by NJFFSA16; 08-29-2006, 02:25 AM.
              Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
              Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

              *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
              On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


              • #8
                August 30, 2006

                Cooler temperatures aid Idaho wildfire crews
                By JESSE HARLAN ALDERMAN
                Associated Press Writer
                BOISE, Idaho (AP) - After holding fire lines - "barely hanging
                on," as one chief put it - throughout 40 mph wind gusts and
                broiling temperatures, crews on Idaho's nation-leading 14 wildfires
                were optimistic that the worst had passed by Wednesday afternoon.
                Across the parched state, wildfire suppression efforts have cost
                $65 million so far this summer, said Rose Davis of the National
                Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
                "Idaho is in this roller coaster," she said Wednesday. "It
                was 96 degrees yesterday and 70 degrees today and we're getting 30
                mph winds and dry lightning. And then it's going to heat up again
                this weekend. We're going two steps forward and one step back."
                About three miles from Stanley, deep in the needle-peaked
                Sawtooth Mountains, residents in a cluster of 90 luxurious homes
                were on standby, ready to evacuate if necessary in advance of the
                6.5-square-mile Trailhead Fire.
                The recently revived blaze was burning at the bottom of a
                bowl-shaped canyon, lined with steep rock. To reach the homes,
                winds would have to throw embers over the rock walls and onto a
                ridge of tinder-dry lodgepole pine, said Julie Thomas, a fire
                information officer for the interagency team battling the blaze.
                There was no fire growth Tuesday, on a day of red flag warnings
                for high wind and severe fire danger across the state. The
                374-person team is confident the homes will be spared, Thomas said.
                The fire was 50 percent contained with suppression efforts aided
                by nearly 20 miles of fire hose that's being stretched to the far
                reaches of the fire and dousing areas around the subdivisions.
                "I want to stress that Stanley is open for business," Thomas
                said. "There are just a handful of campgrounds closed and the
                smoke is not even visible anymore."
                In all, there were 14 large wildfires burning in Idaho across
                more than 400,000 acres. The state with the second-most fires was
                Montana with eight, followed by Washington with six and Oregon and
                California with five.
                Resources such as engines, helicopters and firefighting teams
                are stretched thin across the Northern Rockies and Pacific
                On Friday, the National Interagency Fire Center imported an
                additional 150 firefighters from Canada, New Zealand and Australia
                to relieve the nation's maxed-out corps of public and private fire
                Already, 225 firefighters from abroad were serving as midlevel
                fire managers and on-the-line firefighters, the first time the fire
                center has called in international reinforcements since 2003, Davis
                Meanwhile, the cabin village of Yellow Pine in the Payette
                National Forest remained on alert, a half mile from the southern
                flank of the Van Meter Fire, part of a mosaic of blazes known as
                the South Fork Complex.
                The complex has burned 38 square miles to date at a cost of $8
                million to fight.
                Fire crews have cut a line around the portion of the Van Meter
                Fire that had threatened Yellow Pine and the threat is "largely
                diminished," said Mark Van Every, a spokesman for the team
                battling the blazes.
                He said access is a major concern - the fires have closed all
                roads out of Yellow Pine, except a primitive road open only to
                residents and fire officials.
                In the Boise National Forest, winds gusting to 40 mph fanned
                another 3,000 acres on the 37-square-mile Rattlesnake Complex,
                which is charring stands of spruce, fir and ponderosa pine in
                mountains 45 miles north of Boise.
                A developed hot springs area and several private cabins remained
                in the fire's path, but crews were optimistic that they could keep
                the fire away from the buildings.
                Shifting weather patterns that brought 20-degree temperature
                drops and decreased winds on Wednesday could allow fire managers to
                beat back the 28-square-mile Red Mountain Fire, said Kristy Byner,
                spokeswoman for the national team fighting fires in the Boise
                National Forest.
                "We made it through the red flag warnings without losing any
                structures or having any injuries," she said. "So we consider
                that a success."
                On the Net:
                Idaho fire reports: www.inciweb.org

                (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


                • #9
                  Sept 7th

                  Nasty fire conditions in Idaho drag later into season than usual
                  By JESSE HARLAN ALDERMAN
                  Associated Press Writer
                  BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Dry lightning has sparked three more fires
                  in Idaho, bringing the total number of large blazes burning in the
                  state to 17, the most in the nation.
                  Nine large fires were burning Thursday in both Washington and
                  Oregon, second-most in the country. The Pacific Northwest and
                  Northern Rockies are seeing fire season drag into the waning days
                  of summer when rains usually wash away the flames.
                  September usually signals a cooling trend with moisture patterns
                  that dramatically reduce fire potential and growth in
                  high-elevation timber stands. But that has not been the case so far
                  this season, said Rose Davis, a spokeswoman for the National
                  Interagency Fire Agency in Boise.
                  "It is late in the year not to see any relief in sight and to
                  have heavy-duty fire activity in similar ecosystems in Montana,
                  Washington and Oregon," she said. "And we have to keep an eye
                  forward, because what we always have in October is a second fire
                  season in California when the Santa Ana winds move on and that
                  region really dries out."
                  As seasonal firefighters return to work and school, crews are
                  thinning, putting a strain on already stretched resources.
                  Across the nation, 84,255 fires have burned more than 13,000
                  square miles this year. This fire season has seen more fires and
                  land burned than in the past five years. So far, this year's
                  figures eclipse the 10-year averages by almost 25,000 fires and
                  5,500 square miles.
                  In Idaho, blazes were burning in a checkerboard across the state
                  - in the high desert brush of the south, the timber-lined slopes on
                  the central mountains, and the rolling hills of the Panhandle. The
                  fires were raising ozone levels across the state.
                  In Boise, a film of smoke has hovered over downtown buildings
                  and the surrounding suburbs, blotting out views of the foothills
                  immediately north of the city and prompting two consecutive days of
                  elevated air quality alerts from the state Department of
                  Environmental Quality.
                  Smoke is filtering into the Treasure Valley from several fires
                  burning in the Boise National Forest, including the 38-square-mile
                  Red Mountain fire and the 51-square-mile Rattlesnake Point fire.
                  Fire managers reported that flames jumped containment lines on
                  both fires Wednesday.
                  The newest blaze on the Boise National Forest, the 1,200-acre
                  East Roaring fire was threatening a guard station and a few rustic
                  cabins 20 miles southeast of Idaho City. Some crews from other
                  fires were dispatched to the smaller blaze, stretching already thin
                  Several other fires were moving toward homes, campgrounds, and
                  remote Forest Service roads, but no evacuations had been ordered as
                  of Thursday.
                  In eastern Idaho, two lightning-sparked fires were growing in
                  tall grass and rangeland near the town of St. Anthony. The Snowshoe
                  fire grew to 9,356 acres Thursday, said Bureau of Land Management
                  spokeswoman Sonja Shadow.
                  To the north, firefighters installed sprinklers and readied
                  hoses in front of several homes abutting the 10-square-mile Meadow
                  Creek fire near Lewiston. The blaze was burning in parched stands
                  of lodgepole pine and sub-alpine fir.
                  Associated Press writer Christopher Smith in Boise contributed
                  to this story.

                  (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                  Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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                  • #10
                    MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho (AP) - An air-tanker plane used an Idaho
                    freeway as a makeshift runway to return to firefighting service
                    after the single-engine aircraft made an emergency landing adjacent
                    to the roadway.
                    Idaho State Police troopers and Elmore County Sheriff's deputies
                    closed part of Interstate 84 in southern Idaho to traffic Sunday to
                    allow the U.S. Forest Service pilot to take off from the highway.
                    The plane had been dropping retardant on the East Roaring Fire
                    near the historic mining district of Atlanta in the Boise National
                    Forest. The pilot had to make an unscheduled landing Saturday
                    evening adjacent to the interstate due to what authorities said was
                    a fuel problem.
                    No one was injured and the plane was not damaged.
                    Repairs were completed Sunday and rather than moving the plane
                    by truck to a landing strip to return to service, officials agreed
                    to allow the pilot to take off from the westbound lanes of I-84.
                    "It's hard to get these kinds of airplanes on a moving
                    vehicle," Jessica Gardetto of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management
                    told the Idaho Press-Tribune. "There's a lot of regulations, and
                    its safer (to get it airborne) than towing a big airplane down the
                    Air safety investigators from the U.S. Department of Interior
                    and the U.S. Forest Service monitored the take off, which required
                    the removal of a fence and two bulldozers grading a 150-yard-long
                    taxiway to allow the plane to reach the freeway.
                    Interstate traffic was temporarily stopped as the plane took off
                    successfully using both westbound lanes.
                    Cooler weather during the weekend allowed firefighters to
                    contain two major Idaho fires, bringing the total of large, active
                    fires in the state to 15 Monday, still the highest in the nation.
                    The Green Canyon fire was contained after burning over 4 square
                    miles on the eastern Idaho range while the Snowshoe Fire near Idaho
                    Falls was contained at 15 square miles.
                    In the central mountains, the town of Yellow Pine remained
                    poised to evacuate from the South Fork Complex, a cluster of 26
                    fires burning in the Payette National Forest that was over 57
                    square miles and 20 percent contained. The largest fire in the
                    state was the Middle Fork Complex on the Salmon-Challis National
                    Forest 30 miles west of Challis that was more than 64 square miles
                    with no containment Monday.
                    In northcentral Idaho, the Heavens Gate Complex 10 miles west of
                    Riggins was 50 percent contained at 49 square miles, but due to
                    rugged terrain, fire officials were estimating full containment
                    might not come until November. Another fire on the Nez Perce
                    National Forest, the Meadow blaze, was 15 miles from Elk City and
                    threatening rural residences and ranch buildings. It was 10 percent
                    contained after burning 10 square miles.
                    In the northern Panhandle, the Ulm Peak fire on the
                    Idaho-Montana border was 15 percent contained after burning more
                    than 5 square miles 12 miles southwest of Noxon, Mont. On the
                    Hughes 32 Complex 10 miles north of Nordman, a fire lookout and
                    Canadian power transmission lines were threatened by the
                    6-square-mile fire that was 22 percent contained.
                    On the Net: National Fire Roundup

                    (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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                    • #11
                      Experts say fires will benefit central Idaho wilds

                      BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Forest managers in Idaho say the summer's
                      wildfires followed historic fire patterns and that will help a
                      forest ecology thrown out of balance by a century of fire
                      More than 800,000 acres burned in the state, but the wildfires
                      only destroyed a few homes. The Boise National Forest let some
                      naturally caused fires burn if they weren't threatening homes.
                      "There is a willingness in today's environment to basically
                      back off, let the fire increase in size if there's a firefighter
                      safety issue," David Olson, Boise National Forest spokesman, told
                      the Idaho Statesman.
                      John McCarthy of the Wilderness Society, a conservation group,
                      said the policy is good for forests. "For the forest in general,
                      it was positive and really what you'd hope to see," he said.
                      Fire ecologists said many forest fires burned at varying
                      temperatures, leaving a "mosaic" effect. The result left forest
                      patches of different ages - from old growth to young trees.
                      Kathleen Gaier-Hayes, a fire ecologist, said that will help
                      protect the forest from disease and insects.
                      Without that variety of trees, she said, mountain pine beetles
                      would be able to attack entire forests of old-growth, leaving
                      behind their trademark of red-tinged dying trees.
                      She said forest fires, before they started being suppressed,
                      regularly changed forests and helped balance the ecosystems,
                      leading to a wide variety of wildlife.
                      Terry Hardy, a fire rehabilitation team leader with the Boise
                      National Forest, said high-intensity burns can lead to slides on
                      hillsides, but that the mosaic burn patterns generally leave
                      hillsides protected.
                      "Overall, we didn't see entire watersheds moonscaped like we
                      have in the past," Hardy said of the summer's fires.
                      Wayne Stephens, owner of Silver Creek Plunge resort in Boise
                      County, said the Rattlesnake Fire that burned more than 50 square
                      miles hurt business over the summer but that in the end it made the
                      area safer and improved habitat for wildlife.
                      "It's going to make Silver Creek a safer place for many years
                      to come," he said.

                      Information from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com

                      (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
                      Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                      Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                      *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                      On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


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