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Work crew escapees captured in Montana

Three prisoners who walked away from a work crew near the Idaho/Montana border were arrested after a gas station clerk saw two in a parking lot minutes after a deputy dropped off wanted posters.

Matthew S. Harris, 26; Jeffrey A. Whipple, 46; and Garry G. Layman, 36; were arrested Tuesday night in Superior, Mont., just minutes after a Mineral County Sheriff’s deputy started distributing wanted posters, according to the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office.

Harris and Whipple were arrested at 6:10 p.m. at the gas station; Layman was found at 8:19 p.m. hiding near railroad tracks about a quarter mile away.

The men had walked away from a minimum-security crew building and repairing trails east of the Avery Ranger Station in north central Idaho Sunday night or early Monday morning.

The inmates, assigned to the Givens Hall Work Camp at the Idaho Correctional Institution in Orofino, were eligible to be released before the end of the year but now face escape charges, according to the DOC. Layman and Harris were serving time for burglary charges out of Bannock County; Whipple was there on a Kootenai County conviction for illegal possession of a weapon.

Red Ives and St. Joe River roads have reopened, as well as nearby campgrounds and the Red Ives historic cabin, according o the St. Joe Ranger District.

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Federal agency approves Idaho field burning rules

UPDATED: 12:41 p.m.

Federal officials have approved Idaho’s request to loosen field burning rules that backers say offer more flexibility to disperse smoke away from people but that health advocates say will lead to breathing problems for some area residents.