BOISE – A wildfire threatening nearly a dozen structures in southwestern Idaho appears to have been caused by a utility vehicle that caught fire along a roadway, authorities said Tuesday.
Crews were preparing for a long battle against the Trinity Ridge Fire, which spread to 3,300 acres in the Boise National Forest, while to the west, 200 firefighters were challenged by hot temperatures and gusty winds while working to contain the fast-growing Springs Fire near Banks, along Highway 17.
The Trinity Ridge Fire started Friday about 50 miles east of Boise and could potentially grow very large because of dry conditions, the terrain, and the abundance of subalpine fur and lodgepole pine in the region, said forest spokesman Dave Olson. “This is a very challenging type of fuel to fight fire in,” he said.
A community meeting was scheduled in the central Idaho town of Stanley, which is less than 20 miles from the largest of the state’s eight wildfires, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The Halstead Fire in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness has spread to more than 50 square miles since it started burning in late July, and containment is not expected until this fall. The blaze was caused by lightning.
Blaze near Chelan 50 percent contained
CHELAN, Wash. – A wildfire that has burned about 10 square miles north of Chelan in central Washington is 50 percent contained.
Fire management spokesman Jeff Sevigney said the fire did not grow significantly during the day Tuesday and that recent mapping showed the fire had burned more ground.
But Sevigney also said conditions are favorable for continued efforts to fully contain it. About 250 firefighters were working to finish building lines around the blaze.
Sevigney said residents of about 50 homes had been told to be ready to evacuate, just in case. Alta Lake State Park also was closed.
No structures have burned since the fire broke out Sunday in light timber and grass.
Rangers recover body on Mount Rainier
SEATTLE – Rangers at Mount Rainier National Park have recovered a male body that may be one of four climbers missing since January storms.
Park spokeswoman Patti Wold said a party descending from Camp Muir found the body late Monday. Rangers carried the unidentified body on a litter down the mountain Tuesday.
Wold said melting snow revealed the body, which appeared to have been under snow for some time. No additional bodies or evidence were found in the area.
Lawsuit filed in death of Powell’s sons
SEATTLE – Seattle attorneys on Tuesday filed a $20 million wrongful death claim against Washington state in the deaths of Josh Powell’s sons, days after Powell’s father was sued for illegally filming two neighbor girls in their bathroom in Puyallup, Wash.
The girls’ mother sued Steven Powell last week in Pierce County Superior Court for undisclosed damages. The civil lawsuit alleges the young girls suffered severe emotional distress as a result of Powell’s watching, filming, and keeping video and images of them without their consent.
Powell was convicted in May of 14 voyeurism counts and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison.
Seattle attorney Anne Bremner, representing the mother, said they want to get records pertaining to the investigation, cover the girls’ counseling costs, make sure Steven Powell doesn’t have future contact with the girls and block the release of voyeuristic images of the girls.
Meanwhile, Bremner and attorney James S. Rogers filed a claim against the Department of Social and Health Services on behalf of Susan Powell, who went missing in 2009. A guardian ad litem has been appointed to represent her.
The claim alleges that the state agency failed to monitor, investigate and act in the children’s best interest and that the two boys suffered abuse, neglect, mistreatment and death while under the care of DSHS.
Newborn orca spotted in J pod
BREMERTON – A newborn orca has been reported off the west side of San Juan Island in the Puget Sound.
The Center for Whale Research reported the new calf was first seen Monday among the adults of J pod, one of three killer whale pods that frequent Puget Sound.
The calf was swimming with its mother, an 11-year-old female. Ken Balcomb, of the Center for Whale Research, said the calf is breathing regularly and looks healthy.
The calf is believed to be the great-granddaughter of the oldest orca in the local pods, a whale believed to be 100 years old.
The latest birth brings the number of orcas in all three pods to 86.