The U.S. Attorney’s office in Boise has reached a settlement agreement over a wildfire that was caused by an exploding target in Idaho. The Ten Mile fire in Lemhi County started July 18, 2012, on land owned by Jeffrey and Paula Kerner. Mr. Kerner was shooting at an exploding target on a ninety-five degree day when the target blew apart and ignited the fire which spread and threatened at least two homes and burned 440 acres of federal land.
The settlement reached with Mr. Kerner’s insurance company requires $168,596 be reimbursed to the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management for their costs of suppressing the fire.
Idaho law prohibits exploding targets on public lands from May 10 to Oct.10, but Mr. Kerner was target shooting on private land.
Exploding targets have caused many fires since they became more popular in recent years. They have been banned in some areas, and caused the death of one person. In June a man attending a bachelor-bachelorette party in Minnesota was killed after shrapnel from the device struck him in the abdomen causing his death.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently completed a 670-acre prescribed fire at the Oxford Slough Waterfowl Production Area (WPA) in Idaho.
The photo above shows a fire whirl on the prescribed fire. These have also been called “fire tornadoes”, but recently someone coined the term “firenado”, which we have taken a liking to. In August we posted a video of a massive firenado on a fire in Alaska.
These photos, which were all taken by Lance Roberts, and others can be found on the USFWS Facebook page, where they described the Oxford Slough WPA:
Oxford Slough WPA is one of nearly 7,000 WPAs nationwide, and the only WPA in Region 1. The 1,878-acre WPA is located 10 miles north of Preston, Idaho, abutting the small town of Oxford, where it provides valuable foraging habitat for species such as cranes, geese, Franklin’s gulls, and white-faced ibis, and nesting habitat not only for waterfowl, but white-faced ibis, Franklin’s gulls, and other waterbirds.
Originally published at 8:46 p.m. MDT, September 27; updated at 8:30 a.m. MDT, September 28.
A Boise Bureau of Land Management smokejumper died Friday afternoon, September 27, in a parachuting accident. Mark T. Urban, 40, was killed after his canopy failed to properly deploy. The accident occurred about 45 miles east of Boise, near Smith’s Prairie at about 12:30 p.m. MDT.
Preliminary information from the BLM indicated that he was conducting a research and development jump using a new device to designed to assist in deploying the canopy.
He had been a jumper for 10 years.
Our sincere condolences go out to Mr. Urban’s family and co-workers.
The Eastern Great Basin and Western Great Basin Coordination Centers will merge and be located in a new facility in Salt Lake City. The federal agencies involved say the consolidation will save money and improve response time in getting resources to wildfires and other incidents. The centers, currently located in Salt Lake City and Reno, are responsible for mobilizing resources for wildland fire, prescribed fire and other all-hazard incidents primarily in Nevada, Utah and southern Idaho, plus small portions of California, Wyoming and Arizona.
The decision to consolidate was made after a study by the participating agencies that examined criteria including the safety of the public and firefighters; providing services at the same or higher level than the two existing organizations; proximity to other offices and an airport; minimal disruption to employees; technological capabilities; and overall efficiency. The consolidation will save about $305,000 a year after one-time moving expenses and will affect up to five employees in Reno, all of whom will be offered positions at the new center.
The coordination centers are two of eleven such organizations throughout the country. The centers also provide intelligence and meteorological products to wildfire personnel. Participating agencies include the states of Nevada, Utah and Idaho; BLM; the Forest Service; Bureau of Indian Affairs; National Park Service; and the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Five options were considered, ranging from status quo to consolidating facilities in Salt Lake City, Reno or Boise.
The target start-up date for the new Great Basin Geographic Area Coordination Center is April 2014.
I always thought it was strange that the Great Basin was divided into basically two Geographic Area Coordination Centers — and, that California is broken up into two as well. How long do you think it will before California’s North Zone and South Zone merge?
Hells Canyon Fire in foreground, Raft Fire in the distance. Photo by Keith Lannon.
Firefighters are beginning to get a handle on one of the two fires burning 70 miles northwest of Boise, Idaho. The Raft and Hells Canyon fires are three miles from each other on the east side of Brownlee Reservoir.
The Hells Canyon Fire only grew by 10 acres Saturday, bringing the total to 9,373 acres. It is 85% contained. The Raft has burned 12,000 acres, is only 8% contained, and is actively burning within Benton Creek on the Payette National Forest.
A Type 2 Incident Management team with Mike Whalen as the Incident Commander will assume command of the fires Sunday. They will be managed as the Weiser Complex.
Hells Canyon Fire August 29, 2013. InciWeb photo.
Raft Fire burning in Benton Creek August 31, 2013. InciWeb photo.
Jake Niece sent us some photos tanken at the Beaver Creek Fire southwest of Ketchum, Idaho. This is just a sample of his excellent photography, more of which can be seen at his web site.