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Old Grenade Halts Boise Foothills Fire Cleanup

The discovery of a live, World War II-era short-range rifle grenade high on the Boise Front has put most fire rehabilitation work on hold.

Officials decided Friday evening to temporarily stop the work based on preliminary recommendations from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a Department of Defense staff sergeant.

“The recommendation from the Army Corps of Engineers was that we stop operations until they can do a further review,” said John Fend, area manager for the Bureau of Land Management and incident commander of the interagency effort to rehabilitate thousands of acres in the Boise Foothills burned in August by the Eighth Street Fire.

“We are interested in safety first and foremost. Although the overall risk may be small, we would rather put things on hold temporarily than to have one person seriously injured or killed,” he said.

The rifle-launched grenade created concern because it was far outside the area where ordnance had been found and disposed of earlier.

Because it is a short-range shell, it opens the possibility that similar grenades could be found in any part of the burned area.

The drainages burned in the August 26 fire were used periodically for military maneuvers from the 1860s through the mid 1940s.

A Corps of Engineers specialist is expected to be on site no later than Tuesday to prepare an initial review.

“Work will resume as soon as we feel confident the safety issue has been addressed,” Fend said.

The three recently reopened trails will remain open, but all users are being cautioned to stay only on the trails marked as open.

The remainder of the burned area will stay closed.