U.S. Forest Service

Boise National Forest

Republican Sen. Mike Crapo says he expects wildfire funding legislation he introduced just before Christmas to get bipartisan support in Washington.

Crapo and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, introduced the legislation on December 19. If approved, it would bolster funding for the U.S. Forest Service.

At issue is the agency’s firefighting budget, which is regularly exhausted before a wildfire season ends. Funds from other parts of the agency’s budget are then used to cover additional costs. That money often comes from fire prevention budgets, which can make future fires worse.

Washington Fish and Game

Update 2:11 p.m.:

A federal judge allowed a wolf derby to proceed on public land in Idaho, ruling its organizers aren't required to get a special permit from the U.S. Forest Service.

U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale issued the ruling Friday, hours after a morning hearing.

WildEarth Guardians and other environmental groups had sought to stop the derby, arguing the Forest Service was ignoring its own rules that require permits for competitive events.

The Forest Service, meanwhile, countered no permit was needed.

forest, trees, snow
U.S. Forest Service, Northern Region / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal lawsuit filed by two Idaho counties is challenging the legality of a national forest travel plan that closed off about 200 miles of trails to motorized vehicles.

The lawsuit was filed Monday by Idaho and Clearwater counties against the Clearwater National Forest.

The counties contend the forest failed to adequately coordinate with local leaders while drafting the plan and didn't consider the economic impact it could have on local communities.

mountains, pine trees, forest
U.S. Forest Service, Northern Region / Flickr Creative Commons

Bonner County commissioners in northern Idaho are urging the U.S. Forest Service not to designate any more lands as potential federally protected wilderness in the Kootenai and Panhandle national forests.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports in a story on Sunday that commissioners say there are other ways for pristine areas to be preserved.

Commissioner Mike Nielsen says Scotchman Peak needs to be protected but that wilderness protection would isolate adjacent areas where trails are groomed for snowmobile riders.

Mel Meier / InciWeb

Federal officials say they lost a prime opportunity to rehabilitate and reseed areas burned over the summer by wildfires because of the partial government shutdown.

Workers for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management returned to work Thursday after a 16-day lay-off.

Sawtooth, lands, forest
The Knowles Gallery / Flickr Creative Commons

Three federal agencies spent $392 million in 2012 to manage 32 million acres of Idaho public land, according to a report illustrating costs Idaho would face by assuming oversight of a substantial swath of the territory.

The Idaho Statesman reports the report was requested by U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson from the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

State lawmakers are discussing a proposal to take over 16.4 million acres of federal land.

timber, logging, equipment
D-Stanley / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Forest Service is shutting down timber sales on national forests across the country due to the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said Friday he was informed of the move by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell.

Forest Service spokesman Leo Kay confirmed the action in an email but said details were not immediately available.

It was not clear, for example, whether loggers could cut and haul off trees under contracts that have already been awarded, or whether the action affects just sales that have yet to be awarded.

U.S. Forest Service

The 2012 wildfire season went down as one of the most active in Idaho’s history. It was an expensive year too, with more than $211 million spent to suppress fires that burned 1.75 million acres.

According to a new report by Jonathan Oppenheimer of the Idaho Conservation League, there are some valuable lessons imbedded in those stats.

Trees, Forests
Boise State Public Radio

A group of Idaho lawmakers gathers tomorrow at the Statehouse to begin weighing whether the federal government should transfer public lands to the state to manage.  The all-day meeting will include presentations from Boise National Forest Supervisor Cecilia Seesholtz, Deputy Attorney General Steve Strack and State Forester David Groeschl. He's with the Idaho Department of lands.

Boise National Forest

The Boise National Forest has been a focal point of fire activity this year. The drought has increased the chance for extreme fires to act unpredictably. Sometimes, previously burned areas are the best way to stop the advance of these dangerous blazes – especially those that could endanger people and property.

The Ridge Fire is one of the blazes that’s benefited from previously burned areas. This fire has been burning for more than three weeks near the town of Lowman in the Boise National Forest.

The national debate over oil development took an unusual turn on an Idaho highway early Tuesday morning. For two hours, members of the Nez Perce Tribe blocked the passage of a giant water evaporator headed for the oil sands of Alberta, Canada.

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.

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.

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.

Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

Update 8:20 a.m.:  Fire managers said Tuesday morning the Pine Creek Fire has now burned 800 acres northeast of Boise.  200 people are working the fire, which officials say has a "high" growth potential.  With lightning in the forecast, firefighters are bracing for more new fires in the region.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Pete Zimosky / Idaho Statesman

Rafters along the popular Middle Fork of the Salmon River in central Idaho are being told to be prepared to share reserved camping spaces with other rafters or even firefighters because of a nearby wildfire.

Logging Leftovers Could Keep Invasive Species Out

Mar 18, 2013
USDA

A new study from the research arm of the Forest Service suggests that leaving behind broken branches and the tips of treetops after logging can help fight invasive species.

Scientists suspected that fir boughs and other logging leftovers could act like gardener’s mulch and protect the soil.

Hundreds of sawmill representatives gathered in Portland Monday for a trade association meeting. Thanks to a recovering housing market, the U.S. demand for lumber is increasing.

U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service says the death of a 20-year-old firefighter in Idaho last summer was a “chance” occurrence. The new report is in sharp contrast to the findings of federal workplace safety investigators.  

Brad Washa / Boise National Forest

A new report says climate change will be a growing factor in the way America's forests are managed.  The research is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  It predicts the number of acres burned in a typical fire season could double in the next quarter century. 

To find out more, we spoke with the Forest Service’s Climate Change Advisor, Dave Cleaves.  He says weather is changing and forest managers must adapt.

Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

Idaho leaders are hailing Monday’s decision by a federal appeals court to uphold the state's strategy for managing millions of acres of roadless wilderness. 

Idaho’s roadless rule provides the framework for use and protection of more than 9 million acres of backcountry land owned by the public.

The Idaho plan was adopted in 2006 and approved by the Bush administration. In other states, federal public land is subject to a more restrictive Clinton-era roadless rule.

Judge Halts Logging on Oregon State Forests

Nov 28, 2012
jpc.raleigh / Flickr

A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction halting 11 timber sales in Oregon’s state forests. The state is being sued by three conservation groups who say the logging projects imperil a federally protected seabird.

US District Judge Ann Aiken granted the injunction Monday. It halts 11 timber sales in the Tillamook, Clatsop and Elliott State Forests that are home to the threatened Marbled Murrelet.

Jim Larson / Flickr

The fight against numerous large fires in central Washington is turning the corner. Since the weekend, fire bosses have been able to release nearly 400 firefighters from the blazes near Wenatchee.

But forecasters say it may be a while before the Inland Northwest sees clear, blue skies again.

U.S. Forest Service researcher Miriam Rorig  says smoke projections show poor conditions east of the Cascades hanging on through the week and spreading into north Idaho.

Firefighting Still Dangerous, But For Different Reasons

Aug 14, 2012
Courtesy of Veseth’s family via U.S. Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service has identified a firefighter killed in Idaho on Sunday as 20-year-old Anne Veseth of Moscow, Idaho. She was struck by a falling tree at the Steep Corner Fire southeast of Coeur d’Alene.  Firefighting deaths fluctuate from year to year, but the biggest source of that danger has shifted.

Boise National Forest

Several fires are burning around the state.  Here is a roundup of the five largest wildfires right now.

The Flat Top 2 Fire:  Easily the biggest fire burning in Idaho right now.  Flat Top has consumed 135,000 acres of grass and brush.  It's burning ten miles north of Kimama, northeast of Twin Falls.  The fire was sparked by lightning on August 5.  Eighty-nine firefighters are on the blaze , which is 40 percent contained.

Pages