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In brief: 2 towns in fire path ready to evacuate

Thu., Aug. 16, 2012

BOISE – Residents of two small Idaho towns were told Wednesday to pack their most important personal belongings and prepare to leave homes being threatened by an ember-spitting wildfire that has burned nearly 100 square miles.

The towns of Pine and Featherville were readying for evacuation while more than 800 firefighters battled the Trinity Ridge Fire.

Campers have already been evacuated, and officials warned residents of nearby Atlanta to evacuate, if they have respiratory health problems. The fire has so far resulted in three injuries, authorities said.

In southeastern Idaho, as many as 250 rafters on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River were stranded after fires burning in Salmon-Challis National Forest forced authorities to close a key road, said Karen Dunlap of the U.S. Forest Service.

Some rafters have been stuck at Cache Bar in Lemhi County for two days while crews fought several wildfires in the Mustang complex of fires, where at least 56 square miles had been burned as of Tuesday, Dunlap said.

Authorities were shuttling rafters to their vehicles.

Residents urged to leave wildfire area

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Residents of about 30 rural homes outside Lakeview were urged to evacuate Tuesday as a lightning-sparked wildfire continued to spread through timber and rangeland, crossing the border into California.

Some residents of the mix of vacation and year-round homes around Drews Reservoir have chosen to stay, complicating the job of firefighters, fire spokeswoman Renee Snyder said. Flames were within hundreds of yards of some homes, where structural fire teams were stationed to protect them.

Residents of a dozen homes on the west side of Goose Lake near the California border were also advised to leave, she said.

Started by lightning, the Barry Point fire has burned 75 square miles of national forest and private lands, and has now moved south into California on the Modoc National Forest. It was 25 percent contained, and firefighters hoped to have it fully contained by Aug. 23.

To the East, the Holloway Fire continued to spread across remote and rugged rangeland straddling the Oregon-Nevada border east of Denio. It has burned 675 square miles, and firefighters hoped to have it contained by tonight.

A firefighter who suffered minor burns while battling the Holloway Fire was a member of the Zuni Interagency Hotshots from New Mexico, U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman Michael Campbell said. Her name was withheld at her request.

Funeral set for North Idaho soldier

The remains of a Bonners Ferry soldier killed Aug. 7 by enemy fire in Afghanistan will be returned to North Idaho on Friday.

A funeral will be Saturday in Bonners Ferry for U.S. Army Spc. Ethan J. Martin.

Martin’s remains will arrive at 10 a.m. Friday at the Sandpoint Airport from the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The Army will conduct an Honorable Transfer ceremony at that point to return the remains to Martin’s family, a news release from the Army said.

The best place for community members to pay respects to the passing motorcade on Friday in Bonners Ferry is near Boundary County Middle School, 6755 Main St., around 11:30 a.m., the release said.

The funeral will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Bonners Ferry High School, 6485 Tamarack Lane. Interment will follow immediately after at Paradise Valley Cemetery.

The funeral and interment are open to the public.

Boat ramp reopens at Hayden Lake

Sportsman Park boat ramp at Hayden Lake has reopened for public use following a $250,000 renovation, Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials said Wednesday. Some touch-up work is still under way.

Expanded facilities include more than 40 parking spaces, and the access road is wide enough for two vehicles. A parking site for disabled users has been built adjacent to the ramp.

All surfaces have been paved, and overhead lighting has been installed. The boat ramp has been extended 20 feet and has an expanded radius to back trailers down the ramp for faster, safer launching.

A boat preparation area enables boaters to get boats ready to launch without blocking the ramp for others in the process of launching or loading, said Phil Cooper, department spokesman.

Panel hears bill on ‘save our dams’

PASCO – The House Natural Resources Committee held a hearing Wednesday in Pasco on “save our dams” legislation introduced by Congressman Doc Hastings.

The Tri-City Herald reports the legislation would prohibit federal dollars from being used to remove hydropower dams without specific authorization by Congress. It would prevent federal grants from being used by groups suing the federal government to breach dams.

The bill would tell consumers about how much laws to protect fish and wildlife add to their power bills.

The bill would also make it clear that hydropower is a renewable energy source, just like wind and solar power.


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