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Eye On Boise

‘A very active fire season’ on state lands

Idaho’s fire season on state lands is now at about 50 percent of the 20-year average both for the number of fires and the number of acres burned, the state Land Board was told this morning. “But it is a very active fire season and there’s quite a bit ahead of us right now,” said state Forester David Groeschl. “Those are the fires that we are responsible for right now on our IDL protection.”

As of Aug. 1, state costs for firefighting were estimated at $12.6 million, with about $4 million reimbursable from other jurisdictions, for a net state cost of $8.6 million. That includes $1.7 million in aircraft costs. On Aug. 1, there had been four major fires on state-protected land, but two more were added yesterday, Groeschl said: One in Craigmont that’s already burned one primary residence and four outbuildings and is estimated at 800 acres; and one on Lolo Creek that’s not currently threatening structures.

State personnel and equipment also have assisted on the Beaver Creek fire near the Sun Valley/Ketchum area. “There’s not been a lot of activity over the last couple of days, which is good,” Groeschl said. “They’re lifting some of the evacuation orders around Ketchum, so some of the residents are being able to return.”

State firefighters also have assisted with the Elk Complex fire, Groeschl said. “We have been actively engaged … down here with our federal partners,” he said. “That has been going very smoothly this year.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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