Pocatello is on track to become the state’s second city to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. The city council there is drafting an ordinance to protect gays and lesbians in matters of housing and employment.

Unlike neighboring Washington and Oregon, Idaho does not list sexual orientation or gender identity as a protected class, like race and religion.

A sea of volunteers clad in yellow vests swarmed through the area that burned near Pocatello Saturday to help clean up the area.  Some 2,000 volunteers helped. The Charlotte Fire burned more than 1,000 acres and destroyed 66 homes, damaging many others. 

Volunteers came from around Eastern Idaho to cut down burned trees and help get construction crews access to damaged houses. Seventy property owners registered for help on Saturday.

Pocatello Fire Ruled An Accident

Jul 16, 2012
Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

The fire that burned 66 homes in Pocatello in June was human caused. Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen says whoever started the Charlotte Fire doesn’t even know.

The sheriff believes there was no criminal intent. Nielsen says a spark from a dragging chain on the road could have started it. He says this fire could have been prevented by being aware and taking precautions with such dry conditions.

Pocatello Fire Victims Get Help From Community

Jul 9, 2012
Aaron Kunz / Earthfix

As wildfires continue to burn in parts of Idaho and elsewhere in the West, an eastern Idaho town is reeling from a devastating fire that destroyed nearly 70 homes a week ago.

The Charlotte Fire took homeowners in Pocatello by surprise. Steve Leaman lost everything.

"By the time I got to the cabin, I heard this noise and I thought 'it was the fire plane, it’s the fire plane - my cabin is saved'," he says.  "It wasn’t a plane, it was a wall of fire come off that hill rolling like a wave off the ocean.”

Bill Volk Planning and Environmental Coordinator / BLM PFO

The Bureau of Land Management and a slew of other agencies are restricting campfires and smoking in South Central Idaho.  Stage One Fire Restrictions start Monday. 

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.