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Fire crews battled steep terrain, gusty winds and heavy timber in a blaze that burnt 90 acres as of Wednesday evening on Rogers Mountain, five miles west of Aladdin, Wash., in the Colville National Forest.
The Big Burn of 1910, the largest forest fire in United States’ history, inflicted a terrible toll on Eastern Washington, North Idaho and Western Montana. Precise reporting is difficult because there are many discrepancies about the fire records. For instance, some reports say there were 1,736 fires burning in North Idaho and Western Montana on Aug. 19; others say 3,000. However, it doesn’t matter much. For when the big blowup came that day and the next, owing to hurricane-force winds, it seemed like there was only one huge inferno.
The parents of a firefighter killed in the Thirtymile forest fire have withdrawn a lawsuit against a U.S. Forest Service official, putting to rest the last lawsuit related to the blaze that killed four firefighters in 2001.
BOISE – Idaho still has the most wildfires in the nation, but Montana is catching up quickly. And all of North Idaho – the Panhandle so far has been spared from most of the major wildfire activity this year – goes under Stage 2 fire restrictions Thursday night at midnight. "Our conditions are only going to get worse as we move into August," said John Specht, fire operations and safety specialist for the Idaho Department of Lands.
Two lightning-caused range fires kept Bureau of Land Management firefighters busy on Labor Day, burning at least 1,650 acres. The 150-acre Fossil Beds Fire just southwest of Hagerman was contained late Monday afternoon. But the Indian Ridge Fire grew to about 1,500 acres in old, heavy growths of sagebrush about 10 miles southwest of Hagerman, making it the largest range fire of the year, the Bureau of Land Management said.
A 5,100-acre grass fire threatened more than 100 homes near this south-central Washington city Tuesday evening, state officials said. A state of emergency was declared in Benton County. "It's out of control," said Judy Hebert of Benton County Emergency Management.
Ten lightning-sparked fires continued to burn Wednesday in the Colville National Forest from Republic to the Salmo Priest Wilderness Area. The largest has burned about one acre near McMann Creek and a 20-person Curlew Job Corps Crew is fighting it, officials said.
Containment of a 60-acre wildfire northeast of here was expected Monday night after about 130 people were assigned to fight it. Two helicopters dumped buckets of water on parts of the fire Monday and an air tanker was on standby, said Ken Mergenthaler of the fire dispatch center in Helena. The aerial attack on Sunday, the day the fire was reported, involved four air tankers and two helicopters.
Firefighters battling triple-digit temperatures, poison oak and rattlesnakes began to gain the upper hand on wildfires across Southern California on Sunday, as new blazes erupted elsewhere in the region. In all, seven fires were burning and had consumed at least 1,370 acres by late Sunday. The largest fire, a 720-acre blaze in the San Diego County community of Ramona, was 75 percent contained with full control expected tonight, said Audrey Hagen, a California Department of Forestry spokeswoman. Downed power lines started the fire Friday, Hagen said.
Richard Eckerle surveys the charred remains of his three-story house and car. Photo by Associated Press
A spark from a lawn mower is believed to have ignited a fire that killed a woman and destroyed nine mobile homes as it scorched 377 acres. Tempest V. Arvickson, 77, a resident in a mobile home park invaded by smoke and flames, died shortly after the park was evacuated Tuesday afternoon, said Joanne Evans, a Riverside County Fire Department spokeswoman.
After the worst wildfire season in 25 years, firefighters are looking to new technology and a bigger budget to help them keep catastrophic blazes in check this summer. While it is still early in the season, fire danger already is high in southwestern Arizona and the tip of California. The dryness of fuel is below 15 percent as far north as Idaho and as far east as Colorado, and below 5 percent in a swath from southern Nevada through Arizona.
A Mason County wildfire that charred about 300 acres near Lake Limerick was 80 percent contained Tuesday afternoon, state officials said. The blaze, which started Monday, spread quickly through wetlands, an old Christmas-tree farm, young trees and brush, second-growth timber and debris from last winter's ice storm, said Cindy Neff, a state Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman.
Here are the fire severity potentials for the geographic regions of the West through June 8 as forecast by the National Interagency Fire Center. Alaska: Low to high. Temperatures have been above normal with below-normal precipitation. Long-range forecast predicts normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation.
Firefighters battle a new wildfire north of San Bernardino, Calif., in Sunday. Photo by Associated Press
A 300-acre wildfire along California's scenic Big Sur coastline sent vacationers and residents packing Saturday, closing two state parks and parts of Highway 1. About 900 firefighters battled the blaze about 30 miles south of Monterey. The fire threatened dozens of buildings, including 25 houses and two motels. It was not clear how many people were evacuated.
Fire crews set backfires hoping to thwart a 9,500-acre wildfire that was expected to double in size Sunday in the steep slopes of the southern Big Sur. The backfires were set along a road about two miles north of the steep terrain where the main blaze was burning out of control. As of noon, the fire was only 20 percent contained, fire bosses said. About 2,300 firefighters were on the lines, handicapped by a lack of passable roads and sloping terrain with some grades as steep as 70 percent. The scenic forest is located along the California coast, about 80 miles south of the San Francisco Bay area.
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.
A 3,000-acre grass and brush fire seven miles northwest of town was controlled early Sunday, a state Department of Natural Resources official said. The Crinklewood fire, reported at 11 a.m. Saturday, was contained at midnight and declared under control at 3 a.m., said Joe Willinsky, a fire coordinator at the Central Washington Interagency Communication Center.
The Shepard Mountain fire huffed and puffed billows of heavy smoke Sunday, but more than 800 firefighters and friendly weather held it to a standstill for a third day. Fire bosses estimated the fire would be contained by Thursday evening and were allowing homeowners to return briefly to inspect damage to their property. A daylong escorted visit was planned for today. Firefighters "made excellent headway" on Sunday, information officer Bill Pidanick said. "The crews went out and just busted it today. They exceeded all expectations." The wilderness portion of the fire was 50 percent contained, while portions of the fire outside wilderness areas was 60 percent contained, Pidanick said. "It's beginning to wind down," he said. "They're thinking about releasing some of the structure engines (33 fire engines protecting homes) today." The fire destroyed 32 summer homes and burned 12,800 acres of the Custer National Forest and the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness west of Red Lodge, but has gained no new ground since Thursday. "Nothing in the weather, temperatures or humidity or wind, is a concern, but some areas were burning yesterday. There was a lot of smoke," information officer Ladd Coates said Sunday afternoon.