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00000176-d8fc-dce8-adff-faff71c90000Idaho'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.GlossaryHotshots: A highly trained hand crew of wildland firefighters that works on the ground to contain a blaze. Crews usually operate in 20-person teams, and are sent in first to deal with the worst fire conditions on short notice. Hotshots have a high level of physical fitness. They can carry up to 50 pounds along with a chainsaw and shovel. There are more than 100 hotshot crews around the country, and the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise coordinates the crews.Hand crew: Wildland firefighters that could have different levels of training. They work on the ground with hand tools like shovels, chainsaws and axes. They dig fire lines (also called "firebreaks") to try and get the fire under control.Smokejumper: An elite firefighter that parachutes into remote wildland fires. They work to suppress and put out fires before they become a bigger problem, and can adapt to quickly changing situations. Smokejumpers have to be fit and highly trained. They carry heavy packs and protective suits and work in mountainous terrain. Idaho has three smokejumping bases in Boise, McCall and Grangeville.Fire lines or firebreaks: Usually about 10-12 feet wide, fire lines are cut with shovels and axes to contain and suppress a blaze. Hand crews -- including hotshots -- will dig lines and clear out brush so the fire will get choked off without fuel.Containment levels: The agency that manages a fire will say how "contained" a fire is. At 100 percent containment a fire isn't out. That means a complete fire line has been dug around the fire. A contained fire can quickly become out of control again with a shift in weather.Controlled fire: This is when a wildfire is considered out. Here's how the BLM office in Idaho Falls describes it: "Think of a container -- say, a mason jar. A fire is contained when it's all 'bottled in,' like in a container. The fire may still be burning, but if a distinct fire line is built around the entire perimeter so that there is no chance for the fire to escape or spot over outside the line, then the fire fighters declare the fire 'contained.' "Human caused: This means someone accidentally or intentionally caused a fire. This could be from a discarded cigarette, a embers from a campfire, or even sparks from a truck along a forested highway. As Smokey says, nine times out of 10, a wildfire is human-caused.Fire danger: This is a rating system from the U.S. Forest Service that helps predict how likely a wildfire could start in an area. It takes into account the weather forecast, terrain and personnel. "Low" means a blaze would likely not spread, while "moderate" means a fire could start but could be contained. "High" to "very high" means fires can catch and spread easily, while "extreme" means the conditions are so difficult and fast-changing that fighting the blaze directly is rare.Red flag warning: These warning are issued by regional National Weather Service offices, and help firefighting management teams understand the weather-related risks for fire starts. Drought and low humidity mixed with windy conditions usually spell a red flag warning. Burning bans sometimes come along with these warnings.Complex: Two or more larger wildfires in the same general area. A complex is managed by a unified team of firefighters.Air attack: Usually used during the initial stages of a small blaze, or as a suppression tool during large fires. Air attacks can drop fire retardant or water to help support hand and engine crews. Multi-engine or heavy air tankers, single-engine air tankers, and helicopters are the three most common types of aircraft that can be used. Multi-engine tankers carry the most retardant, while helicopters (or helitankers) can make more precise but smaller drops.Fire retardant: Also known as slurry, these USDA-approved chemicals are dropped by aircraft over wildfires that management teams believe could grow and become dangerous. It's often used to protect private property. A 2010 ruling from the U.S. District Court in Montana raised questions about its environmental effects.Incident management teams: Operating from level one through five, these teams of firefighters can be sent around the country to suppress fires. Type 1 and 2 IMT's often work on the most difficult and dangerous fires, and can include local firefighting resources.ResourcesWe also pulled together these key resources where you can find up-to-date information about wildfires.The National Interagency Fire Center coordinates fire management teams around the country, and is based in Boise. This year, NIFC predicted a higher level of fire danger in Idaho forests, while the grassland should get a bit of a break.The Bureau of Land Management's site will update Idahoans about fire restrictions on public land.InciWeb updates fire information around the country, giving handy info about road closures during the summer travel season. You'll also find maps, photos, and growth potential for a particular fire.And if you tweet, consider following these organizations and agencies for fire updates in 140 characters.

Blaine County's Preacher Fire Nears Containment

Bureau of Land Management

This story was updated at 10:00 a.m. July 18, 2014

The Preacher Fire, burning in Blaine County, is now 60 percent contained and fire managers expect full containment Friday night. 

The lightning-caused fire sparked July 14 and has since grown to nearly 34,000 acres.

The fire is burning in grass and brush. A red flag warning expected Friday means winds could pick up and humidity can drop, making a fire more likely to flare up.

This story was updated at 6:10 p.m. July 16, 2014

The Bureau of Land Management says lower temperatures and light winds helped fire crews stop the growth of south-central Idaho's Preacher Fire.

Brian O'Donnell, incident commander, says the fire is now 40 percent contained and is estimated at 33,000 acres.

Fire managers say the Preacher Fire should be fully contained by Thursday evening.

Credit Blaine County Sheriff's Facebook Page
The Preacher Fire jumped Highway 26/93 near milepost 192 on Tuesday night.

This story was updated at 9:50 a.m. July 16, 2014

Fire managers still expect the growing Preacher Fire to be contained by Thursday night, that's after the south-central Idaho wildfire made a significant run Tuesday. The lightning-caused fire southwest of Carey is now 31,000 acres.

More than 100 people are fighting the grass and brush fire. "Strong, shifting winds and high temperatures have challenged firefighter’s suppression efforts," the Bureau of Land Management reports.

The Blaine County Sheriff's department says the blaze jumped Highway 26/93 Tuesday night, temporarily shutting down sections of the road.

This story was updated at 8:10 a.m. July 15, 2014.

The Preacher Fire, burning in south-central Idaho, grew to 7,000 acres overnight. High winds and thunderstorms predicted for the area Tuesday could make fighting the fire challenging.

The fire is burning in mostly grass and brush 10 miles northeast of Richfield, Idaho. Almost 60 people are fighting the fire, and more air resources have been ordered.

The Bureau of Land Management says the Preacher Fire was started by lightning.

Preacher Fire, Wildfires, Blaine County
Credit Blaine County Sheriff's Facebook Page
The Blaine County Sheriff's office posted this photo of the Preacher Fire on Facebook. It's now estimated at 3,500 acres.

This story was originally posted at 10:10 p.m. July 14, 2014.

The Bureau of Land Management reports a south-central Idaho wildfire that started late Monday afternoon has grown to 3,500 acres. The Preacher Fire, burning six miles southwest of Carey, is growing quickly thanks to strong winds and extreme fire behavior.

The BLM says four single engine air tankers and a helicopter are helping ground crews fight the fire.

The Blaine County Sheriff closed some highways on Monday. The sheriff's department is updating its Facebook page with the latest public safety and road information.

The BLM says the Preacher Fire isn't threatening homes at this time.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

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